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Safaricom at risk of losing mobile operator license

July 31, 2013 • East Africa, Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

bob collymoreSafaricom, one of the largest mobile operators in Kenya, is at risk of losing its operator’s license if it fails to comply with the Communications Commission of Kenya’s (CCK) directives to improve services across the country.
The Commission ordered the company to pay a $27 million (Sh2.36 billion) fee and improve what it calls “poor service” before it will be issued a new operating license. Safaricom’s current license is due to expire on 30 June 2014, and the Commission has given the company until then to pay – or face the consequences.
“We are not going to allow consumers of services that we regulate get poor services when they are paying for them. Safaricom has for the last three years failed to meet the minimum quality of standards threshold,” said CCK director general Francis Wangusi.
According to Kenya’s The Star, “CCK surveys quality of service given by the four licensed mobile phone service operators based on eight key parameters. The parameters include completed calls rate, call set up success rate, dropped calls, blocked calls, speech quality, handover success rate, call set up time and signal strength.”
In Kenya, mobile operators are given a mobile license for 15 years after which the license can be auctioned off to bidders if the current holder no longer wishes to operate or does not apply for a renewal. If a renewal is sought, the company will be granted a new license for 10 years after a successful assessment of the firm’s operations.
“If Safaricom’s license is renewed come June 2014, it will operate for another 10 years after which the license will be subjected to an auction where the most competitive bid will be issued with that license. Safaricom will also be allowed to re-tender for that license in 2024,” The Star wrote.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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