Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecom company, was the best mobile service provider according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA). In the same period, Airtel Kenya had the worst mobile cellular services.
In the year that ended in June 2021, Safaricom scored 92.7 per cent in service quality, an improvement from 92 per cent the previous year. The score makes the telco the only compliant in the industry, going by the CA standards.
Despite posting the highest improvement, Airtel Kenya came last in the rankings. It posted a service quality score of 65.45 per cent last year, an improvement from 52 per cent the previous year.
The Communication Authority of Kenya has set an 80 per cent service quality compliance threshold for the service providers.
The improvement by Airtel Kenya may be attributed to several developments in its network to meet the regulatory minimum threshold on the quality of calls across the country.
Airtel Kenya Managing Director, Prasanta Das Sarma last year disclosed that 270 sites were upgraded from 2G and 3G sites to 4G while more than 400 sites were added in upcountry towns and highways.
Some of the locations that benefited from the Airtel upgrade and installation of new sites include Kilifi, Marsabit, Bungoma, Nyeri, Siaya, Kakamega, Nyandarua, Turkana Bomet and Uasin Gishu.
Telkom Kenya was the second-worst service provider in the year to June 2021. The quality of service by Telkom Kenya dipped to 67.5 per cent last year from 73 per cent in 2020—marking the only recession among the service providers in 2021.
“The authority monitors the quality of mobile cellular services provided by mobile network operators to ensure that consumers are protected. The authority monitored the quality of service for the three mobile network operators across 44 counties” CA said.
Satisfying the CA score is critical since telcos breaching requirements on the quality of calls and other service outages as a result of omission on their part risk a fine of up to 0.2 per cent of their revenues, which could run into hundreds of millions.
The assessment is based on how an operator performs on eight key parameters as picked up in different parts of the country.
The eight include the call set-up time – the period between the end of dialling of a telephone call and the start of voice or data transmission; completion of calls – the number of calls that are completed on a network satisfactorily compared to the total number of call attempts made by callers; call set-up success rate – the number of attempts to make a call that result in a connection to the dialled number; speech quality – clarity; drop call rates – a phone call that is terminated by the network unexpectedly as a result of technical reasons.
Call handover success rate – when a mobile handset moves out of one cell to the next and is handed over automatically from the base station of the first cell to that of the next with no discernible delay; and the strength of received signals are also considered in determining compliance.