Kenya’s telecoms regulator, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), has lowered the wholesale interconnection fees charged by mobile phone network operators by 50%, in a move designed to lower consumer costs and attract new subscribers. The regulator has dropped interconnect charges from KES4.42 (USD0.05) to KES2.21. The interconnection fee is the amount one operator pays another for routing traffic through its networks.
Zain Kenya, the country’s second largest cellco by subscribers, has already announced its intention to cut end-user call charges from KES6 to KES3 across all networks for both pre-paid and post-paid customers. Further, Zain’s standard SMS tariff has been lowered to KES1; the industry average for sending an SMS is currently more than KES2.50. CCK director General Charles Njoroge commented: ‘If calls are cheaper, it means more people will be able to afford mobiles because the cost is low and people will be able to call more so there should be growth in voice and SMS traffic.’ Mr Njoroge has confirmed that the eventual aim is to reduce interconnection fees to KES0.99 by 2013. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as at end-June 2010, Kenya reported 20.08 million mobile phone users.