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Telcos to refund airtime to users in case of network outages


The Communications Authority (CA) has issued new guidelines requiring telecommunication companies to give credit rebates to customers in case of network outages.

In the new directive, Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom will have to compensate users affected by network failures, to an amount equivalent to the airtime they could have used during that period.

The regulator has borrowed from a global trend where operators have a refund policy, pushing them to go the extra mile in improving their telecommunications infrastructure.

The policy, however, exonerates operators in cases where outages are caused by scheduled maintenance, natural disaster or accidental damage to infrastructure.

“A licensee shall develop and implement an outage credit policy in situations where service is unavailable due to system interruptions and not as a result of scheduled and publicized maintenance, emergency, natural disaster or force majeure, accidental damage of infrastructure by third parties, terrorism, and vandalism,” the guidelines states in part.

The CA is expected to publish further guidelines on how rebates are to be given.

“The outage credit policy shall detail circumstances when credit, rebate or refund applies, process, procedure and timelines when rebate, credit or refund shall be issued to customer/subscriber.”

In July this year, Canadian internet giant Rogers was forced to give credit to millions of its customers following a national wide outage that lasted close to 15 hours. The outage affected government services and payment systems, leading to wide-ranging criticism.

Such outages are also considered unhealthy for the economy, especially when they happen too often.

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to snderitu@techtrendske.co.ke

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