Safaricom wants lower cross-border calls

September 17, 2013 • East Africa, Mobile and Telecoms

Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom is urging East African governments to lower cross-border calling rates to neighbouring countries. Chief executive Bob Collymore said it is not conducive for businesses to have higher cross-border calls than phoning the United States.

Safaricom's Chief executive Bob Collymore (image: file)

Safaricom’s Chief executive Bob Collymore (Image source: file)

“I have always said that roaming costs are not conducive to regional trade. It makes no sense to have calls to the US costing lower than Uganda, for example,” Collymore explained.

Safaricom’s chief finance officer John Tombleson denied that the mobile operator is benefitting from high call rates. “We don’t make (substantial) profits from such calls. Our rates are among the lowest in the world but we need other operators in the region to also lower theirs and governments should make supportive policies for that to happen.”

ICT cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’I added his voice to the discussion, saying that “any cases of unrealistic and exorbitant” pricing structures should be investigated. “It is a critical area that needs market-based solution and not policy or regulatory intervention. If we impose a fee, it may affect the market by making it unpredictable for investors.”

Charlie Fripp

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