CA stops plan to outsource phone service quality audit

Regulator has been assessing the quality of voice services by telecom firms. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Regulator has been assessing the quality of voice services by telecom firms. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The communications regulator has put on hold plans to outsource the assessment of phone service quality saying companies that had expressed interest in the project were asking for too much money.

The Communications Authority of Kenya has been reviewing the way it measures Quality of Service (QoS) in telecommunication, with the aim of expanding its regulatory overview and bringing aboard an external firm to carry out the study.

The regulator had in August indicated that it was in the final stages of picking one of four companies that had expressed interest in the project. The Authority however now says the plan has been put on hold.

“Under the initial plan that entailed outsourcing, the bids received were way beyond the budget,” said the authority in an interview.
The CA now says it will take on the task of collecting the data under the new, expanded QoS standards.

“The authority will, therefore, continue the data collection using its own internal resources until such time that the matter is revisited,” said the CA.

The regulator had said that four companies had expressed interest in the tender— Broadband Communications acting as a local agent of Germany’s Rhodes & Schwartz; Sigos GmbH also of Germany; Lillybelle and Infovista TEMs both from France.

It did not, however, reveal the amount of funds that had been set aside for the project. 

The CA said it would review the initial plan and decide “whether to outsource or not after reviewing the solutions in the market.”

In the interim, Broadband Communications has been contracted to provide the CA with equipment to carry out the data collection internally.

Traditionally, the regulator has restricted its quality assessments to the voice services offered by telecom firms. However, the Authority in 2016 proposed a new framework that would also test data, text messages and customer experience.

The CA said it will be ready to run a pilot based on the new indicators in the first quarter of 2018. These changes to how the regulator assesses quality come amid repeated protests from telecom firms about the methodology used by the CA in carrying out its QoS survey.