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Safaricom faults CA, says its voice service is quality

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has hit out at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) over quality voice scores from the regulator that show the mobile firm is non-compliant.

The mobile phone firms are expected to deliver overall performance of at least 80 per cent on eight indicators to be compliant, but the regulator offered mobile operators Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya a combined score of 50 per cent last year.

The quality of their services worsened given their score of 62.5 per cent in 2015, setting up the operators for a hefty fine.

But Safaricom has challenged CA’s scores, adding that the regulator reneged on an earlier commitment to review the measurement methods.

“Our internal independent studies indicated different values. However, of more concern is the fact that we (alongside other industry players) noted significant anomalies that would impact the scores in the report,” Safaricom’s corporate affairs director Stephen Chege said in a statement last week.

“These concerns were shared with the CA and we expected that they would be taken into consideration but this has not happened.”

The regulator requires the operators to achieve a score of 80 per cent on eight indicators, including speech quality, completed calls, call success rate and drop rate.

READ: Telcos face hefty fines in worsening quality of voice

The CA levies a fine equal to 0.1 per cent of gross annual revenue of a telecom firm for failing to meet these standards. 

The industry was in 2015 fined Sh190 million for poor quality services with Safaricom, the largest operator in the industry, bearing the heaviest burden. Safaricom paid Sh157 million in 2015.

Safaricom compensates users for dropped calls. The poor quality performance will trigger debate on the effectiveness of hefty fines in pushing the voice operators to comply.

The previously the firms were fined a flat rate of Sh500,000 which the communication regulator deemed too lenient and failed to give operators the incentive to comply with established quality of service (QoS) standards.

But this was raised to a share of the firm’s revenues in what has pushed the voice operators to up their game.

This comes as Safaricom recovers an outage that knocked out services for several hours. The CA said it was too early to tell if the company would be fined.

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