May 30th, 2018

Kenya’s ICT stakeholders welcome CTO’s report on OTTs

NAIROBI, 30 MAY 2018 – The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has held stakeholder consultations with the Kenyan ICT sector ahead of the release of its report on over-the-top (OTT) services providers to take place on 19 June. The report aims to help understand the market dynamics and policy and regulatory challenges of OTT services and their impact on traditional business models.

OTTs have had a dramatic impact on the way people communicate not only with family and firends, but increasingly also in the workplace. Advantages of OTTs include:

  • Help drive demand for connectivity, including broadband connectivity
  • Achieve high economies of scale
  • Enable digital marketplaces, especially for SMEs
  • Allow local and long haul voice communications at no direct cost to end users

However, OTTs are not been seen by all as only beneficial. Critics of OTTs cite among other drawbacks the following:

  • Rely on existing third-party infrastructure
  • Difficulties to assure end-to-end quality control and overall regulation
  • Ability to bypass local jurisdictions tax regimes
  • Reduction of network operators’ revenue for voice

In many respects, Kenya’s ICT sector is a trend setter when in comes to ICT adoption, hence our decision to engage stakeholder here,” said Secretary-General Shola Taylor at the end of the consultations.

I must say my appreciation for the Kenyan authorities and particularly Minister for being so instrumental in facilitating this important consultation,” Mr Taylor added.

On 18 June, the eve of the official launch of the report, ICT ministers of member countries convening in London for their biennial meeting will be presented with the report for adoption.

The deployment and use of OTT services in various jurisdictions have undoubtedly led to an increase in consumer demand for data services/bundles provided by mobile network operators. This has in turn resulted in revenue opportunities for telecom operators”, said Francis Wangusi, Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya.

However, there is also a lack of clear OTT policies and regulatory frameworks, which has led OTTs and other online competing services to have adverse impact on the business modes of traditional telecommunications operators“, Mr Wangusi added.

For more information please contact Marcel Belingue, m.belingue@cto.int or +44 20 8600 3816.

About the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is the oldest and largest Commonwealth intergovernmental organisation in the field of information and communication technologies. With a diverse membership spanning developed and least developed countries, small island developing states, and more recently also the private sector and civil society, the CTO aims to become a trusted partner for sustainable development for all through ICTs. More information about us here.