Safaricom is Threatening Going to Court To Challenge CCK Regulations

Safaricom CEO, Michael Joseph was on Citizen TV tonight. And he was breathing fire. He is not the normal laid back and “I dont care” man we know. Michael Joseph seems to be in deep shit with CCK and we are loving it and we want more. We want Safaricom to not abuse its dorminant position which Michael Joseph lied that they are not abusing.

Ok for a start let me brief you on what MJ was doing with Belinda Obura (I found her very ignorant and out to promote the position of MJ). Safaricom wants specifics added to the fair competition rules. And the specifics are, “an operator (dominant) will be punished only when they abuse its market position. MJ believes ad even goes on to assert that Safaricom has not been abusing its position.

Guys are we sleeping. Let me give you specific instances where Safaricom abused its market leader position. When we were at the Mobile Web East Africa at KICC, Peter Arina found himself under fire for various actions of Safaricom. Many developers and the bloggers who were in attendance were so much against the data charges which they saw as very expensive.

Safaricom’s Arina said how they don’t see data as an important market yet and even the head of value added services at Safaricom who was left by Arina to take the flak said how us, bloggers and developers, like free things. But you know what, in the next week, Safaricom launched the craziest offer on data yet. Safaricom capped unlimited data at Ksh 999 for 7 days and the promotion went for more than a month. That is abuse.

During valentines, Safaricom has been able to offer 50% or more airtime for every account topped up. This can only be done when you are in the position of Safaricom and cannot be done by others. Safaricom has used this account top up mechanism to quieten dissent especially when the network cantle handle calls or has more dropped calls.

Safaricom is holding the high spenders in the mobile telephony sector. This is done by using freebies to bribe users instead of focusing on delivery of superior service.

The only superior service which Safaricom has is data and Safaricom has the service better than all because it has refused to accept entry of competition in the sector citing what they spent to purchase the spectrum for 3G.

You can find other arguments I have had with folks on the telecoms war on this link.

And below is a post which was sent elsewhere and was a response to ignorant allegations to support Safaricom’s point.

To Osotsi

You have lots of facts wrong and you know that you cant face the truth on that. I have replied in BOLD!!!
Safaricom started out as a department at Telkom, naturally when you have your baby, you nurture and grow it until its grown and can not only dress and shower, but can go to school, get an education and look for a good job.

Safaricom never started and has never been a depertment of Safaricom. Safaricom has been a companyof its own only that it was one time a sister company of Telkom Kenya because the Kenyan government owned shares in Safaricom through Telkom Kenya. So Safaricom being a department of Telkom Kenya is just so so wrong.

Safaricom should not be blamed for the ills facing the telecommunications sector, Orange and other smaller players were piggy riding on the false promise that government will “cut safaricom to size” in order for them to turn a profit. Telkom has existed for so many years I fail to count, yet Orange keeps making noise. Why cant they leverage on the Telkom brand as Safaricom did and grow?

Listen to me. Do you even know what you are talking about? Noise on Safaricom started coming out in 2005. That was even before inception of Orange Kenya and so your info of Orange kenya is flawed. And the issues which we have had with Safaricom Kenya are regulatory issues. If you scored goals while the match referee was looking away dont say that you are a good footballer.

Blaming Safaricom for their own inefficiencies wont make sense. Safaricom pays the exchequer a lot of money in both direct and indirect taxes, and employs many more people out of their mainstream employees – such as partners and vendors of airtime and mpesa, not roping in the various subscription based business models, not counting even baby sitters. Does Telkom employ even a single babysitter for their employees? How long does one get a response to their problem on a Telkom network? In my area, YU internet runs as GPRS, while Safaricom is past EDGE, way into WCDMA or HSPDA. Pretty fast connection. If YU doesnt upgrade its Internet, why should I be forced to use it? And Orange is not even there. Villifying Safaicom will just add to the specter of failed enterprises and the companies complaining do not have an innovative business model to take care of a competitive business environment.

So if you pay the government money then that gives you the license to do whatever you like? How much does tha bandit economy bring to the country? Why is it hard to argue that then let us allow drug dealers since they will make billions and bring the money to the government? And so you dont know even what Safaricom offers to its employee. Safaricom has never hired any baby sitter for its employees. Let us not display laymanship and ignorance here.

Yu, Zain and Orange cannot provide the superior service because Safaricom is literally and single handedly blocking the payment of the licence. Safaricom rode on Telkom Kenya network for many years and for absolutely no fee. And Safaricom is now saying that for anyone to get licensed, they must pay what Safaricom pay. Safaricom paid 25 Million USD when the market was virgin. Now almost 40% of the data market is being exhausted. Safaricom cannot demand that all pay the 25 Million USD. The market dynamics have changed. Let us grow up and stop all these cheap arguments.

Much of what Safaricom is using to develop the infrastructure is borrowed money – money that they get from bonds on the free market. I’ve never heard Zain, YU or Orange getting bonds to the market to raise money to improve their network. Walalahoi. Nkt.

Do you know anything about borrowing from the bourse? DO you know the rules, regulations and processes? You just dont go and borrow. Man do you research. Stop these pedestrian arguments.

What is Safaricom doing now that they cant do? They waited until Safaricom overly publicized Mpesa for them to develop and market their own, and when that flops, they turn to the government for salvation. That is unfair. Kenyans are not being forced on Safaricom, they choose it because the SIM cards they most likely find in the nearest market is a Safaricom line and Safaricom airtime. Then they know how to choose. If Safaricom gets rewarded for their innovation and aggressive product promotion to turn a profit, so should Orange, YU and Zain. For example, Telkom/Orange keeps copying everything Safaricom does – like promotions. So how does a copy cat survive when they don’t know what drives Safaricom to engage in such business practices?

As far as I know. Safaricom got it very easy and through patronage and favouritism. Safaricom got lucrative government contracts and mostly were single sourced because the government then and even Kibaki’s , before 2007, had very good amount of individual official interests. Dont we know stories of Mobitelea?
Dont we all know what Safaricom did. Did they reward the inventor. Didnt Safaricom go to UK to patent the technology. Have they released the API to developers? NO. Because if they are good at it, the innovators would dicover their lies and they wont survive with the system for even a single day. Safaricom fears regulations and

Infantile antics will not bring a proft to these companies. They must innovate, or just like Popote Wireless and Flashcom, they will sink with the hopes of a nation. We must Appreciate innovation and aggressive product tendencies so that like South African companies, we conquer our region. The new form of slavery, just like in the old form, needs some savages, and thats the difference.
You can call it whatever you want but you are more of an infant here because none of the arguments you present here measure to technological Maturity. The URL where all the tegulations are is

Read them and stop being reactionary. Quote specific clauses because Safaricom has failed to quote because not works against them. And the regulations talks of the dominant operator. Safaricom and Orange are dominant in Mobile and Data sectors respectively. Why is Safaricom feeling targeted? Because with a level playing field, they wont make it. And for your info, in any market, a company cannot be allowed to control 80% of the market. That is monopoly. That is pure monopoly and CCK suspended regulations for a long time but they must act now

Even Access Kenya is going to die because they are not innovative. When the market needed them, they kept on shifting goal posts until Safaricom came and took hold of the market AK could not claim. Now AK has no room for further grown unless they innovate! I think in the not too distant future, the Somen’s will see the fruits of innovation or lack of it, just like Popote Wireless, Flashcom, Zain, YU, Orange, UUNET and so on. And the fruits might leave a bitter taste like what YU/Orange/Zain are finding now.

Please government, don’t sacrifice innovation over ineptitude. The biggest loser will be the Kenya people you are purporting to be trying to save. The key wasnt monopoly, it was about allowing more players to bring competition into town and to help drive prices down. If the players can’t play, they should be replaced with more savvy players who cherish competition. That’s how a Kenyan will benefit. Blaming others for your ineptitude is juvenile

Guys, I expect very strong arguments from skunkers and not these cheap praise singing and then we have people who should know better yelling YEAH YEAH. Did we even go to school?

Just Now Safaricom is facing accusations on bribery and secret and lobbying tactics in the award of tender for the number portability solution provision.

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (

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