IEBC Yet To Determine Mobile Network Operator For Results Transmission


As we have come to learn, the August polls are gaining more momentum in terms of campaigns, and assurances that aspirants want the electoral management body, the IEBC to clarify before Kenyans can pick their leaders.

Most of the issues are technology-based, and we have highlighted some of them here.

One of the issues that has been raised is whether  IEBC has an alternative solution to transmitting results in areas that are not served by 3G and 4G.

This is an important question because not all parts of the country are covered with a good internet connection.

Safaricom leads the pack with a 97% coverage for its 4G service.

Such information, however, has not been availed by other operators, such as Telkom, Airtel, and Faiba (Equitel also has 4G services but it is basically an MVNO).  

Also to note is that back in 2017, Safaricom was selected as the sole operator for the distribution of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMs), which included KEIMS tablet SIM cards to the 40,883 polling stations in 2017.

This time around, however, the IEBC has not selected an operator that will be tasked with the exercise.

At the same time, the IEBC has not revealed which network it will use for the transmission of election results over 3G/4G.

However, it is obvious that Safaricom will be the obvious choice based on its robust and extensive network infrastructure in the country.

It is also possible that the IEBC may choose two or more operators for the exercise, depending on how robust such networks are in select parts of the country.

Telkom and Airtel Kenya are robust as well, but mostly in urban areas. This means that Safaricom could be the obvious network in rural parts of the country.

In places where all networks will be unavailable, the IEBC will use satellite signals to dispatch results electronically.

So far, 1111 polling stations that might use satellite modems have been identified, but IEBC says it will only provide the technology and its associated tools if it has sufficient funds to do so.

It is also working with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to determine the viability of satellite technology in results transmission.

Lastly, IEBC says it is vetting mobile operators for the exercise and will announce its choice in due course.