CCK hits back at Safaricom in voice quality test dispute [Business Daily (Kenya)]
(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has hit back at Safaricom over the mobile firm's claims that voice quality checks and reports issued by the regulator are erroneous.
Safaricom last week said that it had commissioned an independent assessment that revealed CCK's measurements, which labelled the telco non-compliant last year, are flawed and not consistent with "international benchmarking methodology".
The CCK accused Safaricom of disowning a report that the operator played a key role in developing and doubted whether the listed telco's assessment was in line with the law.
The telcos are expected to deliver overall performance of at least 80 per cent on eight indicators to be compliant, but Safaricom had the worst score of 50 per cent in the year to June while Airtel was rated at 62.5 per cent. Telkom and Essar both achieved 87.5 per cent.
On Wednesday, Safaricom said that an independent assessor had given it a score of 87.5 per cent, a rating that has sparked the fresh row with the CCK — which will use the quality reviews to determine the renewal of the operator's licence next year.
(READ: Safaricom fights CCK over voice quality checks)
"The assessment framework that guides CCK's independent assessment of Quality of Service (QoS) is explicitly provided for in the regulatory framework which was agreed upon with the operators, and subsequently adopted and gazetted," said the CCK in a statement.
"The same framework also provides for a complaint handling mechanism, which operators can resort to in the event that they have issues with our QoS assessment reports. We are unaware if their assessment is consistent with the obtaining legal framework," added the regulator.
The CCK has tied the renewal of Safaricom's licence, which is due for renewal before June, to achieving the minimum quality standards and paying Sh2.3 billion. This has raised the stakes on the quality measurements, which since 2009 have attracted a fine of Sh500,000 for non-compliant operators.
Safaricom was last year fined Sh500,000, a small penalty for a firm whose revenues stood at Sh124 billion in the year to March.
"We are concerned by the latest CCK results as there are several discrepancies between those released by the commission and similar tests carried out by an independent company based on international benchmarks," noted Safaricom in its sustainability report released on Wednesday.
The CCK quality checks started in 2009 following discrepancies between compliance returns filled by the mobile operators and complaints from users. The returns from the operators indicated that the telcos were in compliance, forcing the CCK to acquire the equipment for measuring QoS in 2006.
This was followed by discussions between the regulator and the operators over the eight parameters paving the way for the gazettement of the quality rules in February 2009.
Francis Wangusi, CCK director-general, said earlier that Safaricom had failed to meet the quality standards over the past three years, posting a performance of 50 per cent last year against the minimum limit of 80 per cent.
"The renewal of the licence shall be dependent on Safaricom's commitment to adhere to the set minimum quality of service standards by June 30, 2014 and successful conclusion of negotiations on the new terms and conditions," said Mr Wangusi.
Since its licensing in July 1999, Safaricom has had a great impact on the Kenyan economy with innovative products like M-Pesa, Okoa Jahazi and M-Shwari besides accounting for about 65 per cent of Kenya's 19.5 million mobile phone subscribers.
But CCK has expressed concern over Safaricom's reported failure to meet the quality standards, which show that it met half of the key performance indicators. However, Safaricom reckons that it only failed to meet the 80 per cent limit on one indicator — speech quality.
The State is looking to raise the fines beyond the Sh500,000, saying the current penalty is too lenient and has failed to make the operators comply.
Kenya is seeking to follow in the footsteps of Nigeria, Zambia and Rwanda, which introduced hefty fines against operators that fail to meet quality checks.
Last May, Nigeria fined four telcos a combined $7.4 million (Sh636.4 million) for failing to meet minimum service standards.
In 2011, Rwanda revoked the licence of Rwandatel for poor service and slapped MTN Group with a daily fine of $4,000 (Sh348,000) that was applicable until the South African tech giant fixed the problem.
(c) 2013 Nation Media Group. All Rights Reserved. Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]