CAK issues MVNO licences

CAK issues MVNO licences

CCK DG Francis Wangusi (Centre) addressing the press after meeting with mobile Network Operators. With him are senior management of CCK.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) has issued Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) licences to Finserve Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Equity Bank, Zioncell Kenya Limited and Tangaza’s Mobile Pay Limited.

The concept of an MVNO gives small enterprises the opportunity to set up and provide mobile cellular services without the need to heavily invest in the rollout of infrastructure.

 CAK director general Francis Wangusi said: “The MVNO licence has been issued under the ASP category to provide all forms of services to end users using the communications infrastructure of a licensee under the Network Facilities Provider (NFP) Tier 1 category. For purposes of providing access infrastructure to MVNOs, this category is also referred to as Host Mobile Network Operator (HMNO). All the four mobile network operators are currently licensed under this category.”

 The MVNOs will provide cellular mobile services including customer registration, SIM card issuance, billing and customer care to end users without holding a spectrum licence. The MVNOs will however be assigned their own numbering range where they request and provide services as bona fide entities.

“The Commission has developed detailed guidelines that will generally act as safeguards to the end users in terms of quality of service, billing and customer care. The MVNOs are obligated to provide services within the set Quality of Service (QoS) parameters and targets. The guidelines further outline how the MVNOs will relate to their host MNOs including numbering and network requirements, interconnection, termination of licences, access to MNO facilities among other issues. The guidelines will soon be made available through the Commission’s website,” Wangusi said.

The spectrum for building a mobile network infrastructure is limited and CAK is unable to accommodate many MNOs. At the same time, the cost of building a mobile cellular network is high and few entities have the capacity to invest in such infrastructure.

“As early as 2004, the Commission had appreciated the existence of MVNOs in other countries and in principle agreed that MVNOs could be licensed provided an agreement with a Mobile Network Operator is reached,” said Wangusi.

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