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Kenyans urged to monitor phone charges

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 20 – As mobile phone operators rush to review their call structures in line with the new interconnection rates, the industry regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) is urging the public to be vigilant and ensure that the firms deliver on their promises.

CCK Director General Charles Njoroge alerted customers to ensure that they pay the tariffs they subscribed to.

“If anything happens and they tell you that you are going to pay Sh4 but they charge you Sh8, I think that is not correct and it cannot be allowed. It is only you as a consumer who can be able to let us know and we will be able to take action,” he advised.

The regulations require the operators to file their tariff structures with the commission which enables them to keep track of the rates quoted by operators and ensure that they are adhering to them

If they are overcharged, Mr Njoroge explained that consumers have a right to demand for a refund which they can do by lodging their complaints through the commission.

“You have a contract with them that says they will sell you a service for this much (but) if they charge you differently, we have a unit of consumer affairs which deals with complaints and those are some of the issues that we’d like to receive,” he added.

Mr Njoroge’s remarks were emphasised by the Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK), which urged the operators to observe professionalism even as they embark on aggressive campaigns to market their products.

The market is in the next few weeks expected to witness a drastic reduction of calling rates following Thursday’s release of the new termination rates, which have been lowered by 50 percent to Sh2.21 per minute.

“We hope that service providers shall be careful and honour the choice of words they use for instance when they pledge that low calling rates will remain permanent as they not promotional. As we understand the word "permanent", it means that it would not change in either direction,” said the organisation’s Program Officer Calvin Otieno.

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Mr Otieno urged the CCK to take action against advertisements that fails to meet the minimum standards.

While thanking the Information Ministry for slashing the termination rates, which he said was ‘long overdue’, he called on the regulator to engage Internet service providers and ensure bandwidth speeds are increased and their prohibitive costs also comes down.

The implementation of these measures COFEK said would create and sustain a highly competitive environment within the telecommunication sector.
 

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