At the moment, mobile phone penetration in Kenya stands at 106%, having passed the 100 percent mark in the first quarter of the FY 2018/2019. This growth has been linked to more people subscribing to mobile phone services offered by telcos such as Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom, among other carriers such as MVNO Equitel.
In the past, carriers have always been faulted for not doing enough to ensure that customers have access to the best of mobile phone services such as reliable voice calls, as well as consistent data connection and SMS services. It has also been the Communication Authority of Kenya’s role to task operators to offer the best of services. Back in 2016, telco Safaricom promised that it would compensate customers who experienced bad service, including dropped calls and so forth. At that time, compensation was in the form of airtime reimbursements of up to one minute for every dropped call.
While we are not aware whether the carrier dropped the compensation model (I have had tens of dropped calls with zero minutes compensation), the matter appears to have taken a detour from a carrier-initiated model where a company such as the aforementioned Safaricom chose to reimburse dropped calls to a state-based directive should the Kenyan Information and Communication (Ammendment) Bill, 2019 be assented.
The new bill proposes that a carrier should pay customers KES 10 for every dropped call. In addition, the bill seeks a legal mandate to stiffly fine telcos in an attempt to prompt them to improve the quality of services.
The amendment makes room for cases where some customers can fake dropped calls. Therefore, only a maximum of three dropped calls can be reimbursed with KES 10 each if the bill is passed into law. Carriers will not be held accountable where calls disruptions cause by third-party interference.
The bill has already been published in the Kenya Gazette and was announced to parliament by Elisha Otieno, MP, Gem Constituency.