Less than a decade ago there were only 300,000 phone
lines in Kenya (mostly in the hundreds of government corporations). This is
country of 30 Million people, all needing telecommunication
their business in farming, fishing,
hospitals, etc etc but who had no
access to this vital tool
law, the cost of telecommunications
was kept so high
since only one company
was allowed to provide this
service to Kenyans.
The law has since changed, but
get the government out of
the way of affordable telephony
businesses and individuals,
By Noel Wandera
Mobile service provider Celtel Kenya yesterday blamed the Kenya Government for the prevailing high mobile telephone charges in East Africa.
The company’s CEO Gerhard May said although Celtel was ready to offer cheaper regional tariffs it had been prevented from doing so by the failure of Kenyan authorities to grant it a regional gateway licence.
"I have a very nice surprise in my pocket for our clients and I hope that the Government will move with speed and grant us the licence," May said. He was speaking during the launch of Celtel’s new top up facility –open voucher.
He said Kenya was undermining efforts being made by service providers to enable East Africa’s mobile phone users to communicate at cheaper rates.
"Our sister companies in Uganda and Tanzania are ready. Everybody is waiting for us," he said.
"Technically, I can do it even in two days" he continued, even as he expressed frustration at making several trips between his office and that of the licensing authorities.
International mobile calls from Kenya are still being routed by Telkom Kenya despite an announcement by the Director-General of the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), Mr Sammy Kirui ,that mobile phone service providers would then be allowed to operate own international gateways.
Yesterday, May dampened the prospects of mobile phone users calling across the networks at cheaper rates, saying it would not become a reality until the gateway obstacle is removed.
The newly launched open voucher facility widens Celtel’s airtime value. Clients can top up their airtime accounts for any value ranging from Sh50 to Sh10,000.
The company first launched virtual top up services two months ago with Sh75 and Sh150 airtime values. Celtel’s Chief Marketing Officer Gilles Atayi said the move had added between 150,000 and 200,000 subscribers to the company’s client base.
"Research has shown that low denominations increased usage by customers," said May.
He announced that Celtel had upgraded its system to accommodate the extra demand.
Copyright- The Standard Group