Friday, February 22, 2008

Where is CCK?

When the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) board was disbanded by former Information and Communication Minister Raphael Tuju, there was outcry from the local and international Information Society.

I recall that Steve Lang, an editor from South Africa called me, wondering whether the gains of WSIS had been reversed. Kenya played a pivotal role within WSIS, chairing the all important Internet Governance track. There was hope that the move was all for the better.

But with time, it seems what was supposed to be changed actually never changed per se. The industry hoped that CCK would play a more pivotal role in regulating the telecoms industry.

In the CCK website, it talks of tariff regulation within the telecoms sector as well as the postal sector. The write up is so brief and there is no evidence that CCK has done anything to address interconnectivity tariffs within Celtel and Safaricom.

By interconnectivity tariff, my lay understanding would have expected CCK to address why it is cheaper for callers within one network to call each other and more expensive to call across networks.

Sample this: one can call at shs 4 within Celtel or shs 8 per minute within Safaricom (take your pick). Why does it cost me shs 40 to call Celtel from Safaricom? Or better still, why is it damn expensive to call across networks?

The 26% duty aside, it means that terminating a call in any of the two networks is actually low and I am only charged high because the two networks want to limit me within their network hence the high charges.

As a consumer and tax payer, it is reasonable for me to expect CCK to address these pricing issues. I am not expecting CCK to set the prices but what is regulation about? Bring the respective heads to a negotiating table and document it on the website, that way, we know who is stubborn, Safaricom or Celtel.

I am sure it will not be rude to demand an online source in this information age; otherwise the post office will take longer to deliver it to me.

This is just one issue, am sure marketing needs another post.

CCK marketing has a serious job to do, yes, they sponsored the Africa Cup of Nations and I enjoyed my game, but please get over that football referee/ moving goal posts advert.

Post on marketing to follow.