Call Rates to Reduce in Latest Directive

  • Communications Authority of Keya (CA) Director General Ezra Chiloba,.jpg
    Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Ezra Chiloba.
    Communications Authority of Kenya (CA)
  • Kenyans could soon enjoy lower calling rates after telcos and the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) reached an agreement.

    Telcos and the CA reached an out-of-court settlement that will pave way for lower voice calls due to a cut in mobile termination rates by 41 per cent.

    An appeal had been filed by one of the telcos seeking direction on a directive by the CA that telcos ought to reduce mobile termination rates.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta on a phonecall in October, 2019.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta on a phone call in October 2019.

    These are charges imposed by a mobile service providers on other providers for ending calls in its network - by 87 per cent.

    However, a judgement from the Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal delivered on Friday, August 5, indicated that the rates should be lowered.

    “The current mobile termination rate (MTR) and fixed termination rate (FTR) be revised from Sh0.99 to an interim rate of Sh0.58 (Revised Interim Rate),” the judgment read.

    The tribunal further ruled that CA should conduct a network study on the industry to determine new call rates. 

    “The revised interim rate will apply for a period of 12 months from August 1, 2022. Upon conclusion of the Network Cost Study, the authority will without undue delay implement a new MTR and FTR," the Tribunal added.

    Call termination rates are important because they set the ceiling that mobile operators can price their voice calls to consumers and could significantly affect the pricing of both on-net and off-net calls.

    The new rates were supposed to start on Jan 1, 2022, but the telcos argued that the rates were not arrived at procedurally.

    The CA had proposed to cut Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) to 0.12 shillings from 0.99 shillings, saying it will benefit consumers and ensure business continuity for network providers.

    Separately a report by the CA released on Thursday, June 23, showed that Kenyans were making fewer voice calls.

    CA Director General, Ezra Chiloba, noted that domestic mobile voice traffic fell from January to March as excise duty charges increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

    Data by the CA showed that domestic mobile voice traffic, both on-net and off-net, between January 1 and March 31 was reduced by 7.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

    A businesswoman checking messages on a smart phone
    A businesswoman checking messages on a smart phone