African telecom companies are looking to block regulators attempts to lower interconnection rates between networks. The regulators argue that the lower rates will make calls across networks cheaper, despite operators’ claims that the expansion plans will result in a decline in overall revenue.
The moves by the regulators across East Africa, however, are being welcomed by analysts who say the customers deserve a better chance at connecting with friends and families who may be on other networks.
“It is an important step in creating a more versatile network, and although there is a lot of contention among operators, in the end it will do justice to a telecom sector that desperately needs to put the customer first,” said one analyst on the sidelines of a Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) press conference on Thursday.
Kenyan operators have been the most ardent in their opposition to the reduced rates. Orange, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya have joined forces in an effort to block the additional interconnection fee reductions.
The CCK has said it would significantly reduce those rates in the next few months in an effort to give customers’ cheaper rates and spur competition in the network.
The CCK said it would go ahead with the new rates despite the operators’ antagonism.