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Survey: Phone call quality better in Kisumu compared to other counties

By Frankline Sunday | February 2nd 2021

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kisumu County has recorded the highest quality of mobile services in voice and SMS, according to the latest industry report detailing the level of connectivity across 33 counties.

The Communications Authority’s latest quality of service report indicates that the lakeside county receives 100 per cent connectivity from the three major telcos; Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom.

Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, and Garissa tie at second place with 87 per cent connectivity on all the three telcos, according to the report that for the first time ranks counties in terms of connectivity.  

On the other end of the spectrum, Tharaka Nithi County was listed as the least connected at 47 per cent, with Kiambu, Kwale, Kajiado, and Baringo counties tying at 60 per cent.

“The Authority undertook Quality of Service inspections and monitoring exercise in 33 out of 47 counties to determine both geographical coverage and network performance in regards to the quality of Voice, Data and Short Message Services,” explained the CA in the report.

CA says the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic disrupted the study, leading to 14 counties missing out in the key exercise.

The overall average quality of service performance for the entire industry (Airtel Safaricom and Telkom Kenya) was 72 per cent. Safaricom recorded the best performance of the three at 92 per cent, followed by Telkom Kenya at 73 per cent and Airtel at 52 per cent.

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CA however did not provide a quality of service ranking for mobile data despite assurances to the industry in 2018 that a new Sh400million system would facilitate the collection of 3G and 4G services across all counties.

The new study has cast the spotlight on the wide gaps in access to telecommunication services that is prevalent in many counties, despite years of network investments reported by leading service providers annually.  

CA says it issued Airtel and Telkom with notices of non-compliance requiring them to bring their quality of service to the industry threshold.

“Operators have committed to putting in place remedial measures and plans for network improvements and shall be subjected to further evaluation of compliance in preceding seasons for sustained compliance and regulatory interventions,” explained the CA in its report.

Over the years the Authority has come under criticism for giving telcos a free pass, despite routine complaints by subscribers about intermittent quality of service on both voice and mobile data across most networks.

In the quality of service report released in 2018, Airtel and Telkom scored 75 per cent out of the CA’s 80 per cent benchmark, with Safaricom scoring 62.5 per cent on all eight parameters.

Safaricom however disputed the results with the company saying they have conducted their own network tests that indicate a higher quality of service than that reported by the regulator.

Failure to pass the CA quality of service thresholds attracts a penalty of Sh500, 000 on each failed performance indicator or a maximum of 0.1 per cent of the company’s gross annual turnover.

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