Lobby urges non-renewal of Safaricom licence

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

Safaricom’s application to have its operating licence renewed by CCK will not be smooth sailing.

The Information Communication Technology of Kenya (ICTAK) has asked CCK not to renew the licence over alleged failure to comply with the Constitution, sector legislation and licence conditions.

Signed by the ICTAK secretary-general, Mr Kamotho Njenga, the complaint letter also copied to Safaricom, the ICT body claims that Safaricom has also failed to establish and publicise a complaints handling mechanism.

Mr Njenga said ICTAK would seek the intervention of the Supreme Court if CCK renews the licence without proper consideration and resolution of issues raised.

The complaint follows Gazette Notice No 3115 dated May 7 in which the CCK asked Kenyans to raise objections as to why the giant telecoms company should not have its licence renewed.

CCK gave the public 30 days to submit their complaints, a deadline which passed on June 7.

ICTAK argues that whenever the service is not in proper operation, the service provider has not compensated clients by offering outage credit to subscribers as required under the Kenya Information and Communications (Consumer Protection) Regulations, 2010.

“The applicant has continued to offer substandard network services, sometimes under the pretext of insufficient spectrum,” it says.

“This ground is not sustainable since service quality largely depends on proper network planning and optimization rather than deployment of additional spectrum which, in any event, is a scarce and finite resource globally.”

ICTAK represents information technology players and stakeholders who provide consulting, implementation, support, training, and business analysis services with aim to elevate standards of the ICT profession and industry in Kenya.

Safaricom is also crossing its fingers over a contested tender it was given by the government last month to build and deliver a Public Safety Communications and surveillance solution for the National Police Service.

Kenya’s parliament is probing the manner in which the tender was awarded and to determine if Safaricom has capacity to implement the sh15billion project.

The Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security has demanded the immediate suspension of the Sh15 billion contract until Parliament gives it a clean bill of health.

According to Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, the cutting edge system will run on an independent LTE security communications network using designated International Telecommunications Union standards. It will therefore not run on Safaricom’s commercial network.  The management and control of the new system will however be the sole prerogative of the National Police Service.

Under the deal, Nairobi and Mombasa will be the first two beneficiaries of the upgrade contract the government signed with Safaricom.

The contract requires Safaricom to install hundreds of CCTV cameras, bring in the latest technology, including facial recognition software, create a national command and control centre and link nearly 200 police stations.

Under the unique partnership, Safaricom will spend Ksh 14.9 billion


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