Egypt to double fines on telcos offering poor service

Egypt to double fines on telcos offering poor service

Hossam El-Gamal.jpg

Egypt’s telecoms regulator is doubling the level of fines that it applies to operators that offer poor service to customers.

At the same time it has extended the hours of operation for its complaints service.

Hossam El-Gamal (pictured), the executive president of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), said the aim was “to achieve rapid as well as effective response to complaints, identify the real causes of such complaints and link them to the regulatory as well as the operational rules imposed by NTRA”.

The NTRA said its harsher tone was a result of the poor performance the regulator recorded when measuring the quality of mobile network service for the first quarter of 2021.

Out of 81 cities subject to voice and data controls, Telecom Egypt was below quality in 54 cities; Vodafone in 21 cities; Orange in 31 and Etisalat in 37.

The NTRA said it wants an improvement in the quality of the mobile network across Egypt because of the importance of access to telecom services, in particular the internet.

The regulator said that the decision, which will enter into force in the second half of 2021, is one of three measures it is taking to force telephone companies to provide consumers with services to the required standards.

In addition to doubling the amount of the fine, the NTRA also decided to double the capacity of the complaints centre for users of telecommunications services. It will now operate seven days a week, 14 hours a day. But unhappy users can also file complaints at any time via email, website or WhatsApp.

The regulator will also monitor the time taken to resolve user complaints from the moment they are submitted to the operator, and will impose fines for excessive delays.