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Kenyan consumer body wants MVNO licences halted

Kenya , 11 Jun 2014

Kenyan consumer body wants MVNO licences halted

A Kenyan consumer body wants to halt the issuing of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences in the country.

In April, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) awarded three MVNO licences to Finserve Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Equity bank, Tangaza’s Mobile Pay Limited and Zioncell Kenya Limited.

But the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has filed complaints to the country’s high court detailing reasons why licences given to the three companies should be withdrawn.

The petition -- which enjoins the CAK, the Attorney General and the three MVNOs as respondents -- says the licence-awarding was not done according to law while disregarding consumer interests.

The consumer body further explains that the licences were given “without stakeholder and public consultation, which goes against the spirit of public participation as per the constitution of Kenya as articulated but not limited to provisions of Articles 10(2) (a) (c) and Article 35.”

“The first respondent [CAK] allocated scarce national resources entrusted to them such as numbering resources in an opaque process without public tender or, at the very least, following a fair and transparent or any known allocation process, noting as the petitioner knows that this is the very time the MVNOs services are being introduced in Kenya and the region.”

Cofek has also questioned the legality of the three MVNOs to provide mobile money services without the input and clearance of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

The high court has set aside June 26 to hear the petition.

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