Telcos must up their game

The Communications Authority (CA) has revealed that poor voice and data services topped consumer complaints in the quarter ended June.

The regulator said that protests over these services accounted for half of the customer complaints registered between April 1 and June 30 this year. This should be a concern to telecommunications firms including Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya because their customers have a right to the best value for money.

Poor voice quality, for example, is a massive disservice while one is on an important call and all that plays out is distorted and rumbles through the ears. It can also be frustrating when you are transacting important business online only to be curtailed by unreliable data services.

The telcos must be called out for such sloppiness, because it’s a direct abuse of customer rights. After all, it’s their contractual obligation to ensure that users get what they paid for.

The regulator has set standards on service quality and telcos breaching them must be punished for the sake of consumers.

Poor services are often a result of insufficient investment in network deployment and maintenance by telecommunication firms. Multiple studies have linked poor voice and data services to a lack of sufficient cell towers, radio interference, and power or transmission failure at the base stations.

These are mishaps that can be avoided through proper planning and investment by telcos. The CA should get tough on service providers and ensure that they invest in a sufficient number of cell towers and power backup systems at their base stations.

The telcos must also remember that customer retention is critical to their survival in the long term and must strive to win and retain the confidence of their clients. Many mishaps in service provision only push away customers and with new competition entering the market, the result would be catastrophic.

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