The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has fined six mobile phone companies a total of Tsh38.1 billion (about $16.4 million) for violating the quality of telecoms services on their networks.
However, the authority has instructed the telcos not to wire the money to TCRA but instead use it to invest in improving service quality within 90 days.
According to the regulator, Tigo was fined Tsh13 billion ($5.6 million), Airtel Tsh11.5 billion ($5 million), Vodacom Tsh7.8 billion ($3.4 million), Halotel Tsh3.4 billion ($1.5 million), TTCL Tsh1.3 billion ($0.5 million) and Zantel Tsh1 billion ($0.4 million).
TCRA Director General James Kilaba said the authority assessed the quality of the telecommunications services in the last quarter of 2020 and found that the operators did not meet the quality threshold in line with the 2018 service standards.
He said in accordance with Article 20 of the Code of Conduct for Communications Services, a service provider that fails to meet the criteria is required to pay a fine.
“TCRA has decided that instead of the telcos paying the money to the authority, we should direct it to service providers. Each service provider should use the amount they are required to pay to invest in improving the service,” said Mr Kilaba.
He added: “We have given them 90 days and we have agreed to sign a special agreement, any provider who acts contrary to TCRA’s directive, regulatory and legal action will be taken without notice.”
In Ghana, when telcos are fined, the regulator keeps the money while customers continue to suffer poor service quality.
Upon pressure from the Network of Communication Reporters (NCR), the National Communications Authority (NCA) started to make fines for poor quality service compensatory to customers, but in more recent time, they are back to financial fines, which hits the telcos hard but does not benefit the customers directly.
Telcos have always said that naming and shaming them alone hurts their reputation in the public but they find it an overkill for the regulator to also take the very money they need to improve the service quality.