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Report: Kenya mobile services poor

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14- Mobile phone companies in Kenya have been challenged to improve their services after a study revealed that they do not meet international standards.

A survey conducted by Omnitele, a telecommunications Consultancy Company based in Finland, showed none of Kenya’s mobile phone service providers had met the four second call connection time specified by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

The study conducted in October 2009 was commissioned by Musimba Investments, an ICT products and Services company based in Nairobi. The firm’s CEO Patrick Musimba attributed the poor performance to lack of foresight.

“It is purely a planning issue and you will see a lot of the recommendations are simply; go back to the drawing board. Maybe their priority area is to go and roll out network in Wajir for this month or the next and somehow their network planning aspect is not being optimised. You find there is a higher frequency of stations in a particular area and that leads to a bit of a problem,” he explained.

Mr Musimba further explained that proper planning would help network provider’s project future trends.

“We are a country of about 35 million and all networks anticipate demand. Say that you are looking at 100 percent penetration to handle 35 million people as potential subscribers in your market. This is where the aspect of network planning comes in where you say we are at 11 million and we plan to recruit another 3 million subscribers. How do we handle them in our network?” he posed.

Mr Musimba said that operators should be motivated to perform network audits for them to get up-to-date information on end-users’ perceived quality of their network which would further improve their performance.

“The banking and road sectors candidly tell us what needs to be done and why. Communication is such an important ingredient especially in the delivery of the 2030 Vision and we see that research and mobile network audits should be the way forward. A more efficient network means we can deploy better quality solutions for end users,” he stated.

Speaking during the launch of the report Mr Musimba however added that it was up to the CCK to assist the communication industry set up and maintain performance standards saying that the research was necessitated by consumer experience.

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“This will not necessarily be a benchmark report because we cannot assume the role of the CCK. It (CCK) is established with a mandate and it has an able staff capacity to deal with issues that this survey presented,” Mr Musimba declared.

He said that the network was only carried out in Nairobi saying that it was because most mobile phone users were based in Nairobi. He added that network quality was also below average and that there was great need for mobile telephony networks to improve their performance indicators.

“The idea here is improve your KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) to have a world class network so that with every subsequent improvement on your area of weakness you will obviously get an output of where your network is strongest,” he noted.

Mr Musimba observed that three registered Global System Mobile (GSM) operators were suffering from congested trunk lines at some point of the measurement campaign.

“This indicates a lack of capacity between mobile network and fixed landline network,” he stated.

The objectives of the audit were to; measure coverage of four GSM networks in Nairobi, determine the true customer perceived service quality in Nairobi and compare the coverage and service performance among local competitions and benchmark them against similar international operators.

The audit was also meant to find out if the offered service performance met the Quality of Service (QoS) defined in CCK license terms, point out the bottlenecks in service quality and recommend action to correct problems, reach the targeted coverage and QoS level.

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