Mobile phone operators, Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya have all announced their decisions to compensate businesses and subscribers whenever network outages happen to knock out various services.
These regulations, which were published yesterday for public comment, will be there to compel telcos to either pay or offer credit equivalent of the time users are without voice, data and SMS services.
The new guidelines are the government’s effort to shield the millions of subscribers across the country from poor services related to network outages which include lack of internet connections. Of course, this will prompt the various firms to try and step up in terms of quality and ensure these outages happen as rarely as possible.
The regulator will then be permitted by law to sanction any operator that causes inconveniences to customers through service interruptions. This will include a fine of up to 0.2% of its revenues, which could end up being hundreds of millions.
“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 publicised maintenance, emergency or natural disaster,” said the draft rules published by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).
“(The policy) 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.”
Firms will have to calculate the compensation to subscribers based on how much they charge per minute for calls and data.
This could end up being a lot considering how much Kenyan mobile phone subscribers use call services. In 2019 alone, 55.2 million subscribers made 58.78 billion minutes of calls. This was a huge spike from 2015’s 39.19 billion. Considering this year’s situation, you would only imagine how high these figures have spiked by now.
Luckily for the telcos, scheduled outages, technically known as force majeure will not attract any sanctions.