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Safaricom, CCK in a license renewal stalemate

Safaricom, CCK in a license renewal stalemate.

Kenya’s biggest mobile network operator Safaricom has slammed a Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) directive to pay a license renewal fee of $27 million (Kshs 2.3 billion) before June this year, even after the latter labelled the operator as non-compliant over poor quality standards.

The CCK, in its service quality assessment, found that all four mobile operators in Kenya failed to meet the industry minimum quality of service (QoS), with Safaricom scoring the lowest with 50% against the internationally acceptable score of 80%.

For this reason, CCK has directed the operator to ensure that its quality of service is improved prior to applying for a ten-year license renewal.

“Our view is that punitive measures will not assist the industry to achieve better quality of service measures as they will divert resources from operators which could have been applied to improving coverage and network quality,” Safaricom chief executive officer, Bob Collymore, said in a statement.

Collymore urged the communications watchdog to consider a “modern and collaborative methodology which will allow the operators to respond quickly and ensure customers have a good experience”.

Safaricom also added that the CCK’s current assessment framework is ‘erroneous’, as an independent report showed them as compliant.

CCK has; however, maintained its position on the matter, saying that the renewal will only take place if the operator complies.

The CCK added that Safaricom has failed to meet the minimum quality standards over the past three years.

Back in 1999, Safaricom paid a fee of $55 million (KShs 4.7 billion) for a 15-year license before entering the market.

If the current situation is not solved, Safaricom stands the risk of losing the license to the smaller rival operators who scored higher percentage points as compared to the telco.

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