Every year, Communication Authority Conducts Quality of Service (QoS) Assessment on mobile service providers to ascertain whether the mobile services offered in the country meet the minimum standards of quality set by the Authority. In Kenya, overall QoS should be above 80% as measured across a broad spectrum of services. In the year 2014-2015 assessment period, it was found that Orange offers the worst quality mobile services in Kenya overall followed by Safaricom whereas Airtel, though still declared non-compliant, was found to offer the best quality mobile services in Kenya.
The services offered by the three mobile service providers namely Safaricom, Airtel and Orange were subjected to eight tests in the areas of Call Completion Rate (should be above 95%), Call Set Up Success RAte (should be above 95%), Call Drop Rate (should be less than 2%), Call Block Rate (should be less than 5%), Speech Quality (95% of samples should have quality above 3.1), Call Set Up Time (should be less than 13.5 seconds), and Handover Success Rate (should be – 102 dBm outdoor, – 95 dBm Indoor, and – 100 dBm in car). Conspicuously missing in the list of mobile services in Kenya is mobile Internet.
The three telcos all had compliance in Handover Success Rate, Signal Strength, Speech Quality, Call Set Up Time, and Dropped Calls parameters. On Handover Success Rate, Airtel performed the best having scored 98.16% against a target of 90% followed by Safaricom at 97.27%. Orange trailed the three at 95.75%. Airtel also performed the best in call set up success rates, completed calls, signal strength, blocked calls, and dropped calls. Safaricom on the other hand performed the best only in two parameters namely set up time and speech quality. The best performance Orange managed was to emerge second in signal strength, speech quality and dropped calls – making it the worst provider of mobile services in Kenya.
On overall compliance, the three mobile services providers were declared non-compliant having scored 62.5% overall against a target of 80%. Over the years since 2012, Safaricom has performed at the rates of 50% for year 2012/2013 and 62.5% for year 2013/2014; Airtel has had a similar performance trend. Orange on the other hand has maintained a performance of 62.5% over the three years.
As a general observation on the results, Communication Authority stated that “the performance of the mobile network operators was rated best in Nairobi and worst in Upper Eastern and North Rift regions. The rest of the country recorded above average performance”.
The performance of the mobile services providers however did not touch on data quality, something I personally look forward to be investigated as quality of data is very important for those (99% of Kenyans online) who rely on mobile data to access the Internet . I did my own non-tech assessment of data quality and arrived to the conclusion that Safaricom is currently offering the best mobile Internet in Kenya. In the 2015/2016 QoS report, we expect Communication Authority to also include Internet Services as a test parameter as the Authority stated as much in a Press Statement issued in November 24, 2015.
The failure of the three telcos to meet the minimum QoS standard of 80% means that Communication Authority will demand of them to pay penalties to the tune of 0.2 per cent of the annual gross turnover by July this year. This will see Safaricom that made shs 163.36 billion gross turnover in the Financial Year 2015 part with shs 3.27 billion in penalties.