Another day, another Safaricom story. By this, I mean that Safaricom is never far from the all important conversations of the telco space. This time, MPs have turned a cold shoulder towards a Bill that seeks to ensure Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya to split their telecommunications business from the mobile money transfer and lending units.
The Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill sponsored by Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo targets to address concerns that Safaricom has become too big through its dominant market share in voice, mobile data, and mobile money.
Though, the progression of the matter now looks bleak after only two out of 349 legislators showed interest in debating its content. Odhiambo and his counterpart Jared Okello are the only lawmakers who contributed to the debate on the 2nd reading of the Bill.
This means Odhiambo will have a difficult task in convincing MPs to back his intentions to break up telcos. Eight MPs who had logged on the system to speak when debate on the Bill resumed, said they had no intention to contribute to the proposed law.
MPs will vote to either approve the Bill to proceed to the 3rd reading and final stage or reject it meaning the proposed law will be lost. If approved, the mobile phone companies will be required to form separate entities to manage any other business they engage in outside telecommunications services.
They will then be licensed to only offer voice, data, and SMS services while mobile money services will be licensed as banks.