CCK publishes QoS assessment on cellcos; Safaricom reacts angrily

2 Dec 2010

Kenyan telecoms regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya has announced the results of the recent Quality of Service (QoS) assessment that it conducted on the country’s four mobile phone operators. Newly rebranded Airtel Kenya (formerly Zain) achieved pole position in the assessment, passing seven of the eight key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure quality. Essar Telecom Kenya’s Yu brand ranked second, achieving compliance in four categories. However, the QoS assessment established that neither Safaricom nor Telkom Kenya are offering a ‘satisfactory service’, only mustering three passes apiece. The CCK previously relied on self-assessments from the operators themselves, changing tack because ‘the self-assessment submissions were not consistent with customer experience’. According to the CCK, the KPIs used to judge the cellcos are: completed calls, call set-up success rate (CSSR), call drop rate, call block rate, speech quality, handover success rate, call set-up time and outdoor signal strength.

Safaricom – the market leader by subscribers – criticised the findings, blaming any network issues on the CCK for not providing sufficient spectrum to cater for its subscriber base. CEO Bob Collymore commented: ‘We are surprised at the timing of this announcement given that Safaricom and CCK were in discussions over the methodology used in the study. Nonetheless, we recognise the challenges affecting our network, and we are working to ensure that all our 16 million-plus customers enjoy superior communication services. Unfortunately, one of the major constraints we face is inadequate allocation of GSM 1800 spectrum, as all operators are allocated the same quantity of spectrum by CCK, yet we have the largest number of subscribers who would benefit significantly if CCK granted Safaricom this additional resource’.