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Airtel restores service after outage lasting 27 hours

Airtel Kenya Thursday restored its services, ending about 27 hours of outage that had knocked out data
Airtel Kenya Thursday restored its services, ending about 27 hours of outage that had knocked out data. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Airtel Kenya Thursday restored its services, ending about 27 hours of outage that had knocked out data, calling and texting services for its 12.83 million customers since Tuesday evening.

The operator, which has the second highest number of subscribers after Safaricom, communicated to customers at 10.46 am Thursday that the services were back, without giving reasons for the outage.

“We are pleased to inform you that the network issue has been resolved and services restored. You can now make calls and send messages. We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” the telco said in a via its Twitter handle.

The telco now faces sanctions from the telecoms regulator, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), which has already commenced its investigations into the matter.

CA is also expecting a detailed account of the cause of the downtime from Airtel.

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The law allows CA to penalise any telco that inconveniences customers through service outage as a result of omission on its part.

CA says the fine could be from a minimum of Sh0.5 million to a maximum of 0.2 per cent of Airtel’s annual gross turnover should it be established that the downtime was caused by omission on the side of the telco.

This could be in the region of Sh41 million going by Sh20.5 billion revenue it posted in 2018.

However, network outages caused by factors beyond the control of an operator, technically known as force majeure, usually do not attract CA sanctions.

The telco has not come out on the exact cause of the outage. On Wednesday afternoon, Airte told Business Daily in an email that its engineers had identified the reason behind the downtime.

Airtel has been onboarding new customers on its network at a faster pace than its rival Safaricom.

Between June 2014 and June 2019, Airtel has grown its customers by 153 per cent to 12.83 million from 5.06 million customers. That of Safaricom has grown 51 per cent from 21.92 million to current 33.1 million.

Airtel had a subscriber share of 24.6 percent while that of Safaricom was 63.5 percent as at end of June this year. By contrast, as at end of June 2014, Airtel’s share of subscribers was 16 percent compared with Safaricom’s 68 percent.

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