Uganda: UCC Report Ranks Telecoms Service Quality


The Uganda Communications Commission quality of service report conducted across the five major telecom service providers has ranked Warid Telecom and Airtel Uganda among the worst service providers. By contrast, MTN’s performance has improved since the QoS exercise was last conducted. The December 16-22 2010 exercise engaged consumers on the five 2G GSM networks in Kampala to get their perceptions about the kind of services received.

The complaints, captured in the consumer complaints report include the quality of connection within networks such as blocked, dropped and good calls. Warid ranked highly in the number of dropped and blocked calls on the network after it scored 8.0 per cent and 25.8 per cent respectively.

Airtel followed closely followed with 21.5 per cent in the blocked category and 6.3 per cent for dropped calls.

Orange Telecom registered 3.3 per cent blocked and 2.5 per cent dropped call rates. Uganda Telecom registered 2.5 per cent and 4.6 per cent blocked and dropped calls respectively. MTN on the other hand recorded 6.1 per cent blocked calls and 5.0 per cent dropped call rates.

All the rates were, however, above UCC's set maximum limit of 2 per cent for both dropped and blocked calls. A blocked call is when a call attempt is not successful due to network failure while a dropped call is one that is terminated by the network before it is ended by either parties participating in the call.

According to the report, Orange registered the highest number of good call rate after it scored 93.7 per cent.

A good call is one that has a good reception signal to guarantee a two way end to end connection between the calling and called parties for the entire duration of the call. UCC's maximum for a good call is, however, 95 per cent.

Uganda Telecom emerged second in the category with 92.9 per cent while MTN emerged third with 88.9 per cent. Airtel and Warid scored 68.7 per cent and 64.9 per cent respectively.

The Quality of Service Survey is intended to identify gaps in the quality of services in the telecommunications sector to establish whether consumers are satisfied with the services they receive.

The price war that started in the last quarter of 2010, has seen telecoms grow their subscriber base, forcing them to use compression, trying to fit more and more calls on less and less frequencies, resulting into poor service quality.

Price cuts were ignited by Warid, the company that has suffered the highest number of dropped and blocked calls. The telecom, however, emerged one of the best service providers in the May-July 2010 survey after it received the lowest complaints.

Shine George, Warid's Head of Products and Services told Daily Monitor that he was not in position to comment about the findings because he had not yet studied the report. "I just saw the report yesterday (Monday) and I have not yet gone through it but what you can do is to go through our public relations agency," he said.

Joseph Kanyamunyu, Airtel Uganda’s Public Relations Manager said dropped calls were a result of network expansion that at times tends to interfere with service quality. He, however, said that when network expansion and upgrade is complete, Airtel will offer the best quality services in the market.

Themba Khumalo, MTN Uganda’s CEO said they (MTN) invested $100 million last year in capacity and quality enhancement and that explains why service quality has greatly improved. He, however, expressed discontentment in the manner in which the survey was done saying that MTN's network quality is superior than what has been reported.

Of all the complaints received during the period, the report indicates that 75 per cent were resolved by the respective service providers while 25 per cent are still pending.