Telkom Kenya and Airtel fined Kshs 37.8 million by CA for poor service quality

Once in a while, we may become frustrated (and even disgusted) by our telcom service networks (or MNOs) or one reason or another. These may range from dropped calls, undelivered text messages or just poor network coverage or reception while in a particular location, as well as lack of internet (or data) access even when the customer has an existing and active subscription.

While our frustration is always justified as the providers have made service obligations to avail these services and ensure that they are always up and running, it’s good (or even settling or comforting) to note that such incidents and experiences by us while using these services never go unpunished. For sooner or later, after an evaluation, the particular MNOs are always either warned or in dire cases, slapped by penalties by industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

(TOP: Residents of Kajiado County trying to make calls after a new mast was installed by CA and MNOs to improve network service coverage in the area in 2019).  

And this is what befell two of the country’s MNOs, Telkom Kenya and Airtel. According to a Quality of Service Monitoring and Enforcement update or report presented by CA during a media workshop in Naivasha, Airtel Kenya bore the brunt of penalties, after being slapped with fines totaling Kshs 26.34 million in the 2020/21 Financial Year. Telkom Kenya was, on the other hand, slapped with a relatively lighter penalty of Kshs 11.423 million during the period under review for poor quality services. This brings the total penalties meted on the two operators to Kshs 37.8 million.

“The compliance pass mark is 80%. Operators who do not attain the pass mark during the assessment will be subjected to a Penalty of 0.1% of their turnover revenues…,” notes the report presented to the media and online content creators from March 2 – 4, 2022 by representatives from the CA.

The current Compliance and Quality of Service framework by the CA was adopted in 2017. The Quality of Service (QoS) Assessment Framework helps in evaluating the Mobile Network Operator’s network performance in terms of quality of Voice Telephony, Data and SMS services. It is a requirement for Mobile Network Operators to meet the quality of service requirements as outlined in their licenses.

The QoS Framework has various components. These include overall Network Performance (NP) which analyses the quality of the network infrastructure; End-to-End (QoS) which deals with QoS for network infrastructure working with the end user devices; and Quality of Experience (QoE), basically the quality of service of networks and devices plus Customer Perception. Here, the QoE is defined as “the overall acceptability of an application or service, as perceived subjectively by the end user”.


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