Mobile phone users may soon pay lower rates for international calls following the granting of international voice gateway licences to the two mobile operators. Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) - the industry regulator – last week awarded  Celtel and Safaricom the licences paving the way for the two operators to route all their international calls through their own gateways.

Previously, close to six million mobile phone subscribers had to be connected through the state-owned Telkom Kenya international gateway.

Both Safaricom and Celtel noted that the licences were long overdue, adding that it would translate to lower costs and improved quality offering to its subscribers."The licence means we can offer reduced intentional call charges to our subscribers by up to 50 per cent of the current rates," said Michael Joseph, the chief executive officer of Safaricom, during the occasion to award the two operators the licences in Nairobi.

He added that its subscribers should expect the discounted prices in a month's time as Safaricom has already put up a facility to handle the new traffic.

Gerhard May, Celtel chief executive officer, expressed similar sentiments. "I am not revealing our tariff structure but the market should be rest assured they will come down substantially," he said.

The East African Standard