Airtel Kenya, The Consumers Federation of Kenya, and Telkom Kenya have joined a case in which Safaricom has petitioned a tribunal to block the sector regulator’s decision to cut mobile termination rates (MTR) to Sh0.12 per minute.

This is from the current Sh0.99 per minute.

MTR are the charges levied by a mobile service provider on other telecommunications service providers for terminating calls in its network.

The trio has joined the legal fight throwing its weight behind the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in the appeal filed by Safaricom.

Airtel Criticism

Airtel and Telkom had earlier criticized Safaricom for seeking to scuttle the recently announced reduction in MTR.

They accused the leading telco of only being interested in protecting its revenues from rivals.

The CA has said the cut will have a positive impact on both consumers and operators.

Safaricom argues the move to cut the charges will negatively impact its revenues and profitability and occasion its financial loss.

Airtel and Telkom have however backed the regulator’s decision, saying it will ensure a level-playing field for all, while protecting the commercial interests of smaller operators.

CA Suspension

Following Safaricom‘s application, the tribunal chaired by Rosemary Kuria has suspended CA’s decision on the cuts that were expected to be implemented from the start of this year until the appeal is heard and determined.

The matter was heard before the tribunal Wednesday and will next be brought before the Tribunal on February 2.

A smaller operator tends to pay more in mobile termination rates because its users are likely to spend more time on other networks than its own.

Industry data shows that the rate has been falling gradually from a high of Sh4.42 in 2011 to the just reviewed Sh0.99, which has been in place since 2015, marking a freeze of more than five years amid intense lobbying by some top telcos.

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