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CA intervenes on Telkom, Eaton payment dispute as services are disrupted

A payment dispute pitying Telkom Kenya Limited (TKL) against its service provider, Eaton Towers Kenya Limited (ETKL) saw the latter switch off the former’s transmitter stations affecting its services. TKL customers could not access data and voice services including text and mobile money services.

The industry regulator, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has intervened and directed Telkom Kenya to quickly address a commercial dispute with ETKL.

Eaton Towers had switched off TKL’s 49 telecommunications sites on 7th December 2019, impacting 70 base transmitter stations.

During a meeting convened with the two parties on Friday December 13, the Authority noted with concern that the licensees did not handle the matter in line with the dispute resolution mechanisms provided for in the licence conditions on interruption of services.

‘‘The condition requires a licensee to seek and obtain written approval from the Authority, issue a reasonable advance notice to persons likely to be affected by the interruption or suspension of service,’’ CA said in the Directive signed by the Acting Director General, Mercy Wanjau.

The two parties have been directed to follow the established dispute resolution mechanisms in liaison with the Authority, as well as adherence to the Master Tower Agreement signed between them.

In order to cushion TKL customers from further agony, the Authority ordered Eaton Towers to restore the services by midnight of 13th December 2019 or risk regulatory sanctions. The services have since been restored.

Section 23 and 47 of the Kenya Communications Act, 1998, mandates the Authority to protect users and consumers of communications services with regard to the prices, the quality and variety of those services.

In the meantime, the Authority also directed Telkom Kenya Limited to make good effort to remedy its commercial obligations towards Eaton Towers Kenya Limited.

‘‘The Authority remains committed to working collaboratively with service providers in order to seek solutions to consumers, and also ensure that the business of our licensees continues to grow and thrive,’’ the CA Ag. Director General noted in the Directive.

The Authority is scheduled to meet the two parties for a review of the progress on the matter 20th December 2019.

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