Quality of Internet Service as Experienced by Tanzanians in 2016

Quality of Internet Service as Experienced by Tanzanians in 2016

Eliamani Sedoyeka (Computing and IT Department, The Institute of Finance Management, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic Of)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTHD.2017100102
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Abstract

In this article, Quality of Experience (QoE) is discussed as experienced by Tanzanian internet users for the second biannual of 2016. It presents findings of the research that aimed at among other things, finding out the QoE in internet services offered by telecommunication companies and other internet service providers in the country. A qualitative approach was used to establish practical quality of experience issues considered important by Tanzanians. Online questionnaires distributed over social media mainly WhatsApp and Facebook were used to ask users about their experiences of the services they had been receiving, in which over 2000 responses were collected from all districts of Tanzania. It was established that usability, quality of service, price and after sale support were the main issues found to influence quality of experience for many. The findings in this article are useful for academicians, QoS and QoE researchers, policy makers and ICT professionals.
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Introduction

Quality of Experience (QoE) is an evaluation of user’s experience when using a service (Laghari and Connelly, 2012). In this context, QoE is defined as a measure of internet service performance that influences users’ satisfaction. In general ICT terms, QoE depends on customer experience on efficiency, ease of use, reliability, cost and anything that a customer deems important. For example, QoE measures the perceived quality of mobile video delivery from objective system performance to subjective user experience (Song and Tjondronegoro, 2014).

Literature has portrayed QoE as a customer perception of QoS in which users express what they have experienced using the understanding that was based on their expectations (Hossfeld et.al, 2016). For example, when a person buys internet connection, they expect a certain speed and reliability; these, therefore, become the criteria from which they will judge the service. Accordingly, there are different criteria for measuring QoE based on variety of services delivered via internet such as video streaming, online games, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) etc. (Chen, and El Zarki, 2011; Pal 2011, Mianxiong et.al, 2014; De Pessemier et.al, 2015).

Tanzania, like other parts of the world, is experiencing a rapid increase of the number of mobile phones and hence internet users (ITU, 2014). This has triggered an increase in the number of Internet services providers (ISP) which has resulted into competition. The arrival of 3G and now 4G means mobile phone companies can compete strongly on corporate internet services hence pushing smaller ISPs out. The competition amongst ISP means good services and prices to users. However, the definition of “good” or “quality” or “satisfaction” differs from one user to another because of geographical setups, lifestyles and economic gaps amongst societies and countries. For example, in the USA, many families use smart TV, in which they would require a certain quality, whereas in Africa, some families do not have electricity and still wants to be connected to the internet.

Conceptual Framework

Using several understandings explained above and realities on the ground, this paper presents the QoE from a point of view of an ordinary Tanzanian, looking into the things this person considers important to the service. Adopted from Laghani and Connelly (2012), this paper uses a conceptual framework that focuses on four main factors namely, technology, business, context and human (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1.

Conceptual framework, adopted from Laghani and Connelly (2012)

The framework is comprised of four main pillars. It addresses factors determining and influencing quality of experience for electronic based services such as online business, health, entertainment etc. Despite that Laghani and Connelly (2012) presented a more detailed framework, this adopted version is suited for the purpose of this paper and Tanzania current situation. It offers insights into some experiences such as speed and cost as well as the relationships amongst factors affecting QoE.

Located in East African, Tanzania is a country with a population of over 50 million that has experienced a steady economic growth of around 7% in 2016 (World Bank 2017). Over the years, Telecom sector has constantly contributed over 8% of national GDP and is considered one of the pillars of Tanzania economy. With over 50% of the country has no electricity, telecom sector has rivaled banking sector on volumes of money transfer and has now became a reliable means of money transfer to most part of Tanzania since mobile services has reached most of the villages including areas with no electricity or banks (Sedoyeka, 2016).

According to TCRA (2016), Tanzania had over 39 million subscribers by June 2016, with Vodacom leading the way with over 12 million subscribers, while Tigo catching up fast with over 11.6 million subscribers (see Figure 2). The country has over 17 million registered mobile money users, and the number is expected to rise.

Figure 2.

Tanzania mobile phone subscription data by June 2016 (TCRA 2016)

The subsequent sections of this paper present literature related to QoE and followed by methodology, findings and discussion and conclusion.

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