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Zain Kenya protests over bias

NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 23 – Zain Kenya is now raising issue with the consultants appointed by the government to review the controversial Kenya Information and Communications Regulations 2010.

Managing Director René Meza said on Thursday that industry players were not involved in appointing the Brussels-based Frontier Economics, which he claims is a business partner of one of the local industry players.

"We don\’t feel that the changes in the regulations translate to the consensus and views that we had with regards to these laws in Kenya," Mr Meza said adding they were surprised at the appointment.

According to the Zain boss, industry players were only engaged in picking out the contentious bits of the law, but were left out when a consultant was being appointed.

Frontier Economics was hired in June after market leader Safaricom opposed the new rules, saying the regulations risked reversing the gains made by the company over the years.

Among the regulations included dispute resolution, tariff regulations and compliance monitoring, inspection and enforcement regulations.

The others are Fair Competition and Equality of Treatment and Interconnection and Provision of Fixed Links, Access and Facilities regulations.

Mr Meza said does not feel the review creates a level playing field for all operators. He admitted the review had stalled Zain\’s quest to attain market leadership but adds it would not dent its goals.

"I do not think anything can stop our goal of market leadership given our relationship with the government and regulator as we seek to make calls affordable," he said.

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He was speaking at the launch of a multimillion shillings customer reward program that will see one customer walk home with Sh1 million every week. 

Under the Angukia Milioni na Zain lottery, customers will earn points for using their Zain lines and be entered into a weekly draw in which they stand to win cash and other lucrative prizes.

Mr Meza said through the reward programme 13 lucky customers will each pocket Sh1 million between October and December this year.

Customers will earn points for incoming and outgoing calls, incoming and outgoing SMS, topping up their lines with any denominations, Internet access and subscribing to Club 20, Ziki, Kopa Credo, Me2U and Please Call Me services.

"Points earned will be entered into the lottery immediately. The more the points a customer accumulates, the more the chances of winning," he said. 

The reward programme follows last month\’s successful launch of Zain Kenya\’s new low pricing model, which saw the company introduce a three-shilling flat rate for calls to all networks in Kenya.

While noting the journey to leadership would be difficult, he admitted it would take between three to four years to achieve its goal.

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