Safaricom and Challa Limited to Refund Overbilled Subscribers Affected by KCPE Short Code Hiccup

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KCPE 2017
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There was a time when national examination results could take up to two days for students to know how they performed. However, this changed when mobile phone adoption and the use of internet became mainstream in the country. Based on these developments, the Kenya National Examinations Council aka KNEC sought third party companies to send results to users via text messages at a fee. This has been one of the most effective method since its inception sometime before the 2010s, and continues to be used to date.

For 2017’s instalment of KCPE results that were announced yesterday by the Cabinet Secretary for Education Dr. Okeng’o Matiang’i, a hitch affected a large number of subscribers who sent their index numbers to short code 22252. It should be noted that this short code, which was dedicated to Safaricom users, could not relay the results in a timely manner. Ordinarily, some users requested for the results in more than one instance, and were charged for the repeated process. As a result, requests to the north of 420,000 were affected.

In a statement released by the Safaricom a couple of minutes ago, the telco’s Director for Strategy Mr. Joe Ogutu says that the company has finalized an investigation that aimed to substantiate these issues.

In the release, it is revealed that the 22252 short code is run by a company called Challa Communications Limited, which are licensed by Kenya’s ICT watchdog the Communications Authority (CA). The firm was contracted by KNEC to relay results to students.

“We have instructed Challa Communications to refund all the affected customers starting this afternoon, targeting those who queried the system more than once, as well as those who may have been billed without receiving any response. We regret any inconvenience caused to our customers and want to assure them that we are dedicated to ensuring that they continue to enjoy the best possible experience on our network. Our full attention remains focused on resolving this issue for the continued benefit of our subscribers and we shall extend our support to Challa Communications to help resolve any future technical issues that caused this incident,” reads the statement.

It should be noted that this is not the first time such issues have come up. In the past, results could be delayed up to an entire day, which defeats the existence of these services in the first place.

We hope companies that offer the said services realize that millions of Kenyans are often curious to know how their loved ones performed, and make necessary adjustments in their systems to contain heightened traffic.

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