Safaricom to compensate subscribers for dropped calls

By Beth Nyaga

Safaricom has promised to compensate its subscribers for dropped calls within its network, raising the quality-of-service bar for rivals in an increasingly competitive sector.

Subscribers who suffer dropped calls will get a short message (SMS) notification and thereafter receive airtime compensation worth one minute.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore Wednesday said the compensation is limited to Safaricom-to-Safaricom calls.

“We have piloted the service for about five weeks now and every caller will have a maximum of five refunds a day. Our call drop rate is at 0.3 per cent,” Safaricom Chief Executive Bob Collymore said at the launch.

Safaricom, which has been investing on average Sh30 billion every year on its infrastructure, has been at loggerheads with the market regulator over its network quality.

The firm also introduced a service that will enable its customers control data bundles usage, allowing them to restrict browsing on out-of-the-bundles rates.

In its news service dubbed Safaricom Guarantee, the telecommunications firm has also moved to shield its customers from unsolicited subscriptions offered by third parties commonly known as content providers by introducing an app– My Subscriptions– that gives subscribers ability to check which services they are subscribed to and opt out at will.

The launch of the new products comes shortly after a recent quality-of-service report by the industry regulator, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), which showed none of the three mobile operators, met the required threshold.

This particular service was informed by feedback from our customers (to) help resolve instances where a customer’s data bundles run out and the network switches automatically to the pricier airtime option when surfing the net

The CA report says Airtel, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya fell short of the 80 per cent target quality mark.

The operators have not met the threshold for the third year in a row.

The CA noted that all the three telecoms operators will have to pay a penalty equivalent to 0.2 per cent of their gross turnover for offering poor quality services to consumers in the year 2014-2015.