Senegal’s regulator emphasizes quality of service
There are two types of Internet service: the spotty and the steady. “Bad” service is when a signal exists, but its strength is too weak to consistently access. “Good” service is a strong and steady signal. As mobile coverage increases and Internet/mobile penetration expands, users are demanding the latter. And understandably so – Internet/mobile coverage is great, but truly enjoying that coverage is much better.
Regulators and operators alike are beginning to place on emphasis on quality instead of quantity. ARTP, Senegal’s telecommunications regulatory agency, understands the importance of quality of service, as evidenced by an interactive national campaign. From June 25th until July 25th, ARTP will field toll-free phone calls (around the clock) from Senegalese citizens who find telecoms services lacking in quality. The goal is to push operators to provide the best communication service possible.
Per the official poster, this includes:
- malfunctioning of telephone networks
- local mobile coverage issues
- Internet access problems
- difficulty sending or receiving SMS
The campaign is quite progressive, but then again, mobile subscription rate is 77% and growing. Hopefully ARTP will be able to push the operators to address apparent weaknesses. Offhand, ARTP could suggest for infrastructure to be laid in certain areas to fill in the gaps of service. Operators can upgrade systems. Resources can be allocated differently at different times of the day.
Of course, this is not the first time a telecoms regulator or operator in Africa has honed in on QoS. Last November, Uganda’s cellcos were warned that quality of service will form the basis of license renewal applications. The Prime Minister of Rwanda recently told MTN, the nation’s largest mobile provider, to improve services so the population can fully access fair services.
Not every nation is ready to devote the resources to a QoS audit. Many less-developed areas are glad to have mobile Internet coverage, period. And, even if every African telecoms regulator initiative a QoS campaign, results would no doubt be mixed. After all, it takes a strong regulator to ensure operators make necessary changes to boost the quality of service.