Mobile phone operators in Kenya, Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom Kenya are now obligated to compensate their customers in case of service or network outages caused by system failure. Disruptions in networks mean customers can not text, call, browse, or even transact money.
“A licensee shall develop and implement an outage credit policy in situations where service is unavailable due to system failure and not as a result of scheduled and publicized maintenance, emergency or natural disaster,” said the draft states.
Mobile operators are therefore supposed to schedule maintenance and inform the customers before avoiding any inconvenience. Else, the subscribers will be compensated for the outage. Outages caused by emergencies or natural disasters will however be excused.
The policy states that it will compensate subscribers or issue credit equivalent to usage over a similar period that outage lasted and compensate customers for each day that service has been unavailable. The Compensation will be based on the rates for each mobile operator.
The new guideline will ensure the quality of services and shield customers from poor services. The mobile operators will see to it that the outages are rare to avoid being charged.
The telcos have to pay 0.2% of their annual revenues as fine. Before this firms used to pay a flat rate of 500,000 which was deemed as lenient by the communications regulator.
Telecommunication services outage is deemed to be very critical especially through mobile money transfer. According to The Communication Authority of Kenya, there are approximately 58.4 million mobile money subscribers in Kenya. 90% of the subscribers are M-Pesa and Airtel, money customers. M-Pesa is the most popular platform in the country.
M-pesa is a mobile money platform that is owned by Safaricom which is the largest telecommunication network in Kenya. A collapse in M-Pesa could cause widespread disruption in the country.
With the new guidelines, the Communications Authority will ensure the quality of voice data and messaging services. Nevertheless, they will keep track of network performance and improve the customers’ experience. Thus, ensuring the quality of services to their customers.