ZICTA criminal procedures against Airtel, MTN and Zamtel poor quality of service


THE Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has taken a radical step aimed at correcting, once and for all, poor service delivery by all the three wireless phone companies – Airtel, MTN and Zamtel.
In a move unprecedented since wireless phone companies were established in Zambia, the regulator’s public relations manager Ngabo Nankonde announced that “ZICTA has instituted criminal proceedings” against all the three mobile phone providers.
Ms Nankonde said ZICTA decided to take the action as a way of taking “remedial measures relating to enforcement of quality service in order to protect public interest pursuant to the Information and Communication Technologies Act No.15 of 2009”.
The Zambia Daily Mail has in recent weeks been flooded with letters of complaints from subscribers of all the three wireless phone companies indicating that they were not getting value for their money from the phone companies.
ZICTA has the right to impose “punitive” or “criminal” action against a service provider that fails to deliver the basic “minimum standards of quality service” as in the case of Airtel, MTN and Zamtel, according to Ms Nankonde.
The unprecedented decision was arrived at after a June 27 full board meeting that authorised the regulator to “prosecute all the three mobile phone providers for offering poor quality of service to the public”.
Airtel, MTN and Zamtel are being taken to task over failure to meet minimum standards of quality of a service provider and the second count of failure to comply with a provision of quality service guidelines of 2009.
MTN, the second-biggest network provider in Zambia after India’s Airtel, had 3.47 million subscribers as at September 30, 2012, according to Philippe Besiimire, a former company spokesman.
Airtel had more than 4.6 million subscribers at the end of 2012 while the state-owned Zamtel boasts of about 1 million subscribers, according to available data.
The service providers were not immediately available for comment.