Operator dominance issue makes headlines in Kenya and Ghana

Operator dominance issue makes headlines in Kenya and Ghana

The market dominance issue rumbles on, with stories from Kenya and Ghana underlining how much of a problem it is becoming for a number of African operators.

After accusations from rival Airtel Kenya that Safaricom is abusing its market dominance and stifling competition – Airtel also said that the regulators were not doing enough to deal with the issue – Safaricom has defended itself.

Business Daily reports that the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) have said that Safaricom’s market share has declined in recent years and that competition remains healthy. This is also part of the argument Safaricom made to a Kenyan Senate committee.

Not surprisingly, Safaricom also played up its role as a huge investor in infrastructure and payer of the largest corporate taxes in the country.

The operator’s submission did not address another Airtel claim, that of unfair allocation of spectrum to Safaricom.

Airtel has pointed out that in a number of African nations operators have been declared market-dominant with even lower thresholds than Safaricom’s. 

One such is Ghana, where operator MTN Ghana has an estimated 57 percent of the subscriber market compared to Safaricom’s 64 per cent, although MTN Ghana is also said to have 67 percent of the data market. MTN Ghana was declared a Dominant/Significant Market Power (SMP) in the voice, data and SMS markets in June 2020.

According to the Modern Ghana website, MTN Ghana has since complied with a number of regulatory directives designed to increase competitiveness in the telecommunications industry.

Most recently it announced measures on its network to ensure on-net/off-net parity for voice and SMS special plans, promotions and bundle offers, in order to enable customers to enjoy the same rate for calls on MTN and calls to other local networks.

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