Petition Filed to Lower M-Pesa Charges

M-Pesa
[Photo/ Courtesy]

Telkom has filed a petition in Parliament to compel Safaricom to lower charges on M-Pesa transactions across other networks.

In the petition before Senate Standing Committee on Information, Communication and Technology, Telkom says that Safaricom has been engaging in uncompetitive behaviour by charging more for mobile money transactions across other platforms such as T-Kash (Telkom) and Airtel Money.

“Safaricom charges should be uniform for cross-platform money transfers, in line with the AM recommendation, on both USSD [SMS-based technology] and STK [SIM card-enabled] transfers,” Telkom Kenya said in its submission.

 Telkom Kenya also wants additional measures to be taken by regulators to reform Safaricom’s mobile money business.

“The relevant regulators, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) need to co-operate and co-ordinate the implementation and enforcement of agent interoperability,” the telco said.

“The CBK should set a firm deadline for full mobile money interoperability and impose financial incentives designed to ensure Safaricom co-operates in implementing agent interoperability by the specified deadline.”

Telkom wants CBK to implement merchant and biller interoperability as well as agency interoperability. Also, Telkom wants the giant telco broken into two units offering mobile money and telecommunications services.

Airtel on the other hand wants Safaricom to be declared a dominant player to solve the competition quagmire.

Airtel has also blamed CA for “unfair” distribution of the spectrum, with Safaricom taking the lion’s share.

“Despite investing heavily in the network to improve customer experience, we continue to grapple with lack of spectrum especially in 4G/LTE which, as advised by the CA, is unavailable, yet the dominant player holds excessive spectrum,” Airtel said.

Airtel has been allocated 50 MHz of the spectrum compared to 82.5 MHz for Safaricom and 37.5 MHz for Telkom Kenya.

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