Telecoms regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has confirmed that it will issue new spectrum fees for both operators and broadcasters in March 2011. CCK director general Charles Njoroge commented: ‘The idea of reviewing the licensing and spectrum fees is to enable broadcasters and operators to reach rural areas’. Njoroge added that the CCK expects the operators to pass on the savings to consumers through lower prices. Further, the telecoms chief hinted that a system of assigning telecoms frequencies through auctions would be phased in, replacing the set fees currently levelled at operators. The price review is believed to be a response to claims from mobile operators that high charges have hindered their expansion to non-urban areas.
In December 2010 market leader by subscribers Safaricom blamed the CCK for not providing sufficient spectrum to cater for its enlarged subscriber base, resulting in poor results in the CCK’s Quality of Service (QoS) assessment. CEO Bob Collymore commented: ’Unfortunately, one of the major constraints we face is inadequate allocation of GSM 1800 spectrum, as all operators are allocated the same quantity of spectrum by CCK, yet we have the largest number of subscribers who would benefit significantly if CCK granted Safaricom this additional resource’.