Companies Want More Time to Respond to Kenya’s Regulator new Guidelines

Telecoms

Players in the telecommunications sector are pleading for more time to respond to new guidelines on tariff reviews published by the industry regulator last week. The regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya, gave its licencees seven days to respond to the new regulations before they become binding, reducing the window from the traditional two months.

Among the new guidelines are requirements by industry operators to be submitting to the CCK any intended change of their tariffs for approval. This will involve both promotional and in other tariffs.

"The purpose and objective of these regulations is to monitor and control the manner in which tariffs, promotion, or special offers are imposed on consumers so as to promote fair competition and encourage the provision of affordable services," read part of the guidelines.

The regulations were published on the CCK website following the enactment of the Kenya Communication Amendment Bill 2009. Joshua Chepkwony, the chairman of Telecommunication Network Operators Forum (TNOF), said that the regulations were critical to the industry and members needed to peruse them individually before coming up with an industry position.

"We are not against the contents but we have to go through them to assess their impact," said Chepkwony. The forum is expected to issue a statement today. Previously, the operators were not required to notify CCK before doing any tariff adjustments but only filed their new tariffs.

In the new tariff requirement, operators intending to ran a promotion will be required to notify the regulator 30 days before rolling out such a promotion or offer. On adjustment of tariff, the operators will be required to inform the commission in writing 60 days before the adjustments.

During this period, CCK may approve or reject the proposed tariff adjustment. Before approval, CCK will put a Gazette notice on the intended adjustment of the tariffs. The guidelines also outline how CCK will levy the operators, the Universal Service Access Fund, and how the regulator will manage it.

Previously, the telecommunication operators were concerned about the manner in which CCK said is was going to manage the fund. The operators will be required to pay one per cent of their annual gross revenue to CCK to cater for the fund.

Business Daily