Mr Lowry made the comments in response to questions about MTN’s network capacity and performance. Telkom framed the comments as an attempt to deflect attention from the cellular company’s own failure to adequately service its customers.
Says Telkom in a statement: “It is ironic and unacceptable that every time some of the mobile operators are made to account for their network availability and reliability, blame is conveniently apportioned to Telkom. Over the last few weeks (the period for which the mobile operators have reportedly been asked to explain their network quality to ICASA), there were no extraordinary circumstances or network problems on the Telkom network that could have contributed to the problems encountered by MTN or the other mobile operators. Also, delays in messaging and dropped calls are not a function of Telkom’s access or core network but a reflection of the switching and transmission capacity of the mobile operators’ network dimensioning practices.”
The company also added that the deployment of mobile broadband networks requires significantly more bandwidth and network capacity which, in turn, could impact the quality of service of voice and other services on mobile networks.
The statement continues: “In view of these considerations, perhaps MTN must be challenged to prove to the public that the dropped calls and SMS issues can be directly correlated to Telkom over the past month. It must also be remembered that the mobile operators had the right to self provide since September 2005 and that Telkom is no longer the sole provider of all their network capacity requirements. In addition, it must be emphasised that the mobile operators, and not Telkom, are fully responsible for the end-to-end performance of their respective networks. They do order links from Telkom at a specific Service Level Agreement (SLA). This may be at either 99.5 percent or 99.95 percent availability levels.”
Capacity problems of mobile operators in South Africa recently came under the spotlight when the local version of the international hit show “Idols”, had problems with hundreds of thousands of audience sms votes being delayed, and were therefore not factored into deciding the winning contestant correctly.