3G coverage poor in Kenya, study shows

The 3rd Generation mobile telecommunications technology, also 3G, lacks in most parts of Kenya thus posing a challenge for effective 4G rollout as planned by the country’s mobile network operators, a study shows

According to the study conducted by an Indian audit firm Phimetrics to establish 3G penetration in the country, Orange’s 3G accessibility is at 93.3 percent, 1.2-second delay and 1079.2 (kilobyte per second) throughputs,while Safaricom’s is at 899.1 kpbs 97.2 percent accessibility and 2.2 second delay.

Airtel Kenya has 96.7 percent accessibility, 1.5-second delay and 657.9 kpbs. Essar Yu on the other hand has not installed a 3G service.

Safaricom and Orange dominated in the 2G data speeds but performed below average in 3G data speeds while Airtel and yuMobile both performed poorly in voice and data as the survey revealed.

Phimetrics tested out 2G and 3G data activation, application level download, monitoring activation time, application level throughput, quality and coverage.

According to Phimetrics, there was general improvement but low Internet speeds in addition to poor 3G connectivity across provided by all mobile operators.

Consumers Federation of Kenya’s (COFEK’s) secretary general Stephen Mutoro said: “The results shows that we don’t get the real time in 3G. Some mobile service providers are contemplating moving to 4G when we have not felt the full effect of 3G.”

Consumers are already paying a lot for poor services, he said adding that it seems like mobile service operators are not reinvesting in their infrastructure and that is a crisis of some sorts.

Mutoro warned mobile service providers who have been misleading subscribers with permanent tariffs advertisement which changes after three months to stop.

“We are putting them on notice that if they continue to mislead, the Consumer Protection Bill 2011 that will be passed on Tuesday will find them on the wrong side of the law and as an organization we will pursue that justice,” he said.

Phimetrics conducted a quality researcher survey on behalf of COFEK in which the services of all the mobile operators such as Orange Kenya, Safaricom, Airtel and Yu Essar were assessed.

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