Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the telecoms regulator in Uganda, recently carried out tests on the networks of various operators, to assess the quality of their networks. The areas tested were call drop rate, call block rate, completed calls, and other parameters. The published results show that many of the operators do not meet the minimum standards of network quality. Similar tests were carried out by Communications Commission Kenya (CCK), the telecom operator in Kenya and it also revealed that none of the 4 operators in Kenya met the 80% threshold score for network quality.
It is clear that these tests were done with the right intentions, i.e. to ensure that customers get value for their money, to improve customer experience, and to bring to the operators’ attention the status of their networks. However, some network operators chose to view these tests from a negative perspective. In Uganda, MTN disputed the results published by UCC and it said it had commissioned studies of its own, the results of which would soon be released to the public. The CCK report shows that Telkom Orange scored 38.5% in the completed calls category (The EastAfrican, November 21st – 27th 2011, pg 32). Telkom Orange however disputed the results, claiming their own evaluation revealed a 96.8% score in the same category.
It is understandable for MTN to dispute the results, given their huge investments in network upgrades. But to think that a study carried out by MTN would be more believable than the impartial UCC study is ridiculous. Suppose they hire the services of an impartial private research firm, do they really think the public would believe the results from a study carried out by such a firm, paid by MTN? They had better spend those resources on plugging the holes that the UCC study revealed.
As for Telkom Orange, I can only liken them to a stubborn unrepentant sinner who refuses to turn away from his ways even after the Lord Jesus leaves his comfortable throne in heaven and is crucified on earth just to offer him forgiveness (I am sure you can tell who Jesus is in this case). How can they so confidently claim their network passes the tests at 96.8% in a category in which they scored 38.5% according to the CCK report. Worse still, the CCK report ranks them as the worst performers at 50% overall. If this was their best response to the results, they had better fire their market politics advisers. Otherwise they will continue providing material for my blogs.
Telkom Orange should follow the example of their rival Safaricom. Safaricom emerged the worst performer in the previous study carried out by CCK. The following year, Safaricom invested about $106 million in network upgrades. It is not surprising that they emerged joint leaders with Yu telecom and Airtel Kenya in this year’s tests.
With the high costs of operation and prevailing economic conditions, price cuts are no longer a viable option of beating off the completion. Now what better way is there to beat your rival than to provide good quality of service and superior customer experience? Telecom operators should remember that provision of quality services is their obligation as stipulated in their licenses. I am happy with the path taken by CCK of charging each operator that does not meet the minimum requirements $5320 as stipulated in the law. UCC should follow suit by invoking the necessary clauses in the law to penalize underperforming operators.Hits:448