AccessKenya about to strike ground-breaking interconnect deal with Safaricom


AccessKenya is on the brink of signing a ground-breaking interconnect agreement with mobile operator Safaricom. However, Celtel continues to drag its heels over connecting to the VoIP service provider.

Ms Wanja Chege Michuki, AccessKenya group business development and regulatory affairs manager, told Business Daily that the testing for the interconnectivity is almost through. The agreement is expected to be signed once the connectivity price is agreed on and technical quality tested.

However, Internet service providers ( ISPs) said they are having problems linking up with mobile phone providers. "We have already written to Communications Commission of Kenya about the issue. And we understand that CCK has also written to Celtel on the same interconnection matter," said Ms Michuki.

Celtel holds that ISPs should tackle two major issues: quality and origin of traffic, before they can interconnect with them.

Ms Clare Ruto, Celtel corporate and regulatory affairs director, said it was important to ensure that the ISPs quality was exactly what they wanted before they could move to interconnect. "Celtel would not want to have situation where traffic perceived by clients as originating from mobile phone network was distorted. It would impact on the image of our company," said Ms Ruto. She explained that Celtel would not want to let ISPs use its network to terminate its international VoIP traffic but they needed to show evidence that they had significant similar local traffic. This is just foot-dragging by a new incumbent, trying to avoid the consequences of a newly liberalised market.