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A revised competition report by the telecommunications industry regulator has dropped the controversial proposal calling for the splitting of Safaricom (NSE:SCOM) into separate business units, drawing the ire of its rivals.


Airtel, Kenya’s second-biggest telecommunications company after Safaricom, hit out at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), saying failure to finalise the dominance debate and watering down of the report was hurting the smaller operators.


The CA has, however, defended the report, saying it was revised after wide consultations and input by all industry stakeholders.


The initial draft report leaked to the media in February last year had recommended designation of Safaricom as a dominant operator, which would have seen its voice and mobile money units split into stand-alone businesses that would compete with rival telecommunications firms.

Safaricom would also have been required to share its vast infrastructure with its competitors.

 

Safaricom has a market share by subscription of 71.9 per cent, after steadily rising in the past five years.

 

“We strongly think that the CA urgently needs to reassure all stakeholders of its independence and commitment to ensuring a properly regulated telecoms industry,” Airtel said in an interview.

 

Telkom Kenya is the country’s third-biggest telecommunications firm, while Equitel operates as a sub-licensee of Airtel.


CA data shows that at the end of September 2017, Safaricom had a market share by subscription of 71.9 per cent, after steadily rising in the past five years.


Meanwhile, the other smaller operators have seen up-and-down fluctuations in their numbers over the half-decade.

 

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