Mrs. Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed, Principal Secretary, State Department of Broadcasting & Telecommunications
Mr. Ngene Gituku, Chairman, CA Board of Directors,
Mr. Francis W. Wangusi, Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya
CEOs of licensed ICT firms present
CA Management Staff present
Members of the Fourth Estate
Ladies and gentlemen
It gives me immense pleasure to preside over the launch of the Communications Authority of Kenya’s newly acquired Quality of Service (QoS) Monitoring System. I am informed that launch is a culmination of a series of consultations between the industry regulator – the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) – and the Mobile Network Operators. I wish to commend CA for embracing the spirit of consultation that resulted in the much-needed consensus with industry players on the parameters and tools for Quality of Service measurement.
Ladies and gentlemen
Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are recognized globally as drivers of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed these technologies now provide governments, businesses and citizens with access to information to make more informed decisions. ICTs also enable more efficient processes and give a voice to the traditionally unheard. In our times, life without ICTs would be unimaginable.
Closer home, ICTs have been widely adopted and applied in virtually all aspects of life and the economy. As a result, these technologies are now driving digital financial solutions and inclusion, raising productivity and stimulating innovation in both rural and urban areas of our country. Arising from the ubiquitous access to mobile phone technology ICTs have demonstrated the positive and significant impact they can have on economic development by improving the business environment in the country. Broadband provides a better promise in unlocking the potential of the economy and our youth.
In view of the afore-cited benefits, the Government has identified ICTs as enablers and drivers of Kenya economic blueprint – the Vision 2030, and indeed the current Jubilee Administration’s Big 4 Agenda. As you are aware, the Big 4 Agenda specifically focuses on Enhancing Manufacturing, Food Security and Nutrition, Universal Health Coverage and Affordable Housing. The government is, therefore, relying on the ICT sector to fast track the realization of the Big 4 agenda.
The choice of ICTs as the central driver of the Jubilee Administration’s Big 4 Agenda is informed by the sector’s strong performance over the years.
According to the Economic Survey 2018, the value of the ICT output increased by 10.9% from KSh 311.1 billion in 2016 to KSh 345.1 billion in 2017. Over the same period mobile commerce transactions grew by 85.5 per cent from KSh 1.8 trillion in 2016 to KSh 3.2 trillion in 2017. At the same time, total mobile money transfers increased by 8.4 per cent from KShs 3,356 billion in 2016 to KSh 3,638 billion in 2017. Going forward, I have no doubt that the performance of the ICT sector shall remain on a positive growth trajectory and to catalyze other sectors of the economy.
I must, however, hasten to add here that, for ICTs to deliver on the consumer and Government’s aspirations, the services provided must meet basic Quality of Service standards in terms of network accessibility and availability as well as service retainability and integrity. Truth be said, while Kenya has made remarkable strides in respect to access to ICT services, the Quality of Services provided could without doubt improve. I say this because none of the licensed mobile operators met the Quality of Service thresholds set out by CA during 2015/2016 as well as in the 2016/17 financial years. I therefore challenge the industry to work closely with the industry regulator – CA- in ensuring that our citizens and businesses, who are your customers, enjoy better quality of service and quality of experience.
On a more positive note, I wish to acknowledge the significant role that the private sector has played towards deployment of ICT infrastructure and services in the country. As you will all recall, by 1999 the country had only 15,000 mobile subscribers that represented a penetration of 0.053 per cent. Mobile subscription has since grown to 42.8 million subscribers, representing a penetration rate of 94.3 per cent as at March 2018.
I am also gratified to note that the ever-shifting consumer needs and expectations have witnessed aggressive network roll out and infrastructure upgrades using technologies that support high capacity services. For Instance, the deployment of 2 G, 3G and most recently 4G have in the last five years increased tremendously in the country. The total 2G transceivers deployed by the three Mobile Network Operators hit 154,250 in July 2018 compared to 50,894 five years ago. On the other hand, the deployment the 3G services as seen the number of transceivers grow to 53,557 up from 12,775 five years ago. At the same time, the total number of the 4G transceivers deployed by the three MNOs now stands at 7,469 from 3,873 last year.
This commendable growth could not have been realized without the participation and involvement of the private sector in the ICT market. As Government, we undertake to continue putting in place a conducive ICT policy and regulatory environment to secure existing and attract new investments in this strategic sector of the economy.
I wish at this juncture to commend the CA for expanding and upgrading its Quality of Service monitoring equipment beyond voice services. I am informed that the new system has capacity to monitor data services, SMS and voice simultaneously on countrywide basis. This is timely considering that the ‘cheese is fast shifting’ so to speak from voice to increased data usage in the country. Internet has become an increasingly important tool for businesses and individuals alike in our national digital economy. It is therefore imperative that the quality of Internet services provided meets acceptable global standards.
Ladies and Gentlemen
At a policy level, we are committed to creating enabling laws and regulations that will guide the sector. Most recently, the Government enacted the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Law. , Although some aspects of the Act have been challenged in court, this law will go a long way in protecting Kenyans from misuse of ICT infrastructure and services.
I am gratified to note that my Ministry has developed the Data Protection Bill to ensure consumer data is safeguarded against misuse. In this regard, we are now in the process of securing the requisite approvals before the bill is published. Once enacted into law, this piece of legislation will mark a big step in enhancing consumer confidence in ICT services.
To mitigate against disruption of essential services and losses due to accidental or deliberate damage, the Government, through my Ministry, is in the final stages of developing the Critical Infrastructure Bill. Once enacted this Act will also go a long way in reducing the cost of business on the part of infrastructure providers. The heavy penalties proposed in the Bill will discourage malicious damages to ICT infrastructure motivated by business rivalry. The government is taking this measure because, as you know, ICT infrastructure has become so critical that any disruptions occasion huge loses in the economy. The Government has also strengthened the local cyber-security management framework to ensure our networks and indeed ICT services are secure and robust. In addition, the Government has enacted regulations to promote infrastructure sharing in the sector in an effort to avoid unnecessary duplication of investment in infrastructure and deliberate damage of ICT installations.
My ministry remains open to the private sector in respect to any representations that would improve the ICT policy and legal environment.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish emphasize that the quality of the ICT service is an important aspect that greatly influence the mobile subscriber’s choice of mobile operator. Investing in the provision of Quality Services is therefore in the interest of individual industry players as it is one of the key determinants in maintaining and attracting new users. I urge operators to ensure that competition within the sector is based first and foremost on quality of service offered.
With those remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare CA’s newly acquired Quality of Service Monitoring System officially launched.