In early August, the Communication Authority of Kenya issued a notice to the general public that it was seeking public consultations on a raft of new measures aimed at improving the quality of services telcos offer their subscribers. The rules will affect SMS, calls and data services. The Authority adopted a framework for the same in 2009, that empowers it to conduct the quality of service field assessment for mobile networks by verifying the level of compliance by operators. Amendments to the KICA Act of 1998 in 2013 also allowed CA to enforce compliance by increasing the penalty for non-compliance from a flat fee of Kshs. 500,000 to 0.2% of the gross annual turnover of telcos. In the 2014/15 financial year, Kshs. 190 Million in penalties were collected.
In the 2014/15 financial year, Kshs. 190 Million in penalties were collected from Telcos for failing to offer subscribers the best quality of services. A breakdown of the fines saw Safaricom pay Kshs. 157 Million followed by Airtel and Orange Telkom Kenya which paid Kshs. 33 Million in fines. A review of the rules by the Communication Authority of Kenya will see telcos fork even more for poor services. Below is a breakdown of the new requirements for telcos
On Voice, the Authority will require that mobile network operators reduce their unsuccessful call ratio to below 5%, while the ratio of call drops should be lowered to below 2%. The dropped call ratio is the probability that a successful call attempt is ended during a standard duration of the communication by a cause other than the intentional termination by the calling or called party. The Authority will also require telcos to keep the call set up the time to below 8 seconds and the ratio of completed calls above 95%.
As far as messaging, the authority wants telcos to increase the successful SMS ratio and the completion ratio at 95%. The delivery time of SMS, which is the period starting when sending an SMS from a terminal equipment to a Short Message centre and finishing when receiving the very same SMS on another terminal equipment is also set to be lowered to 30 seconds. The same will apply for MMS, except the time of delivery which has increased to 180 seconds.
As far as data/ mobile internet, the authority wants telcos to lower the latency, which is the time it takes for a packet to reach the receiving endpoint after being transmitted from the sending endpoint lowered to 100 milliseconds. Jitter, a measure of the difference in the end-to-end latency between packets should be lowered to 50 milliseconds according to CA. The Authority also wants internet accessibility, which is the ability of a customer being able to access internet applications from his Internet access increased to 98%.