15 November 2012

Nigeria: 'Network Congestion Beyond Telecoms Promos'

President of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, has said the poor service quality being across networks of telephone operators goes beyond promotions and lotteries.

Believing that the network congestion is caused by the promos and lotteries organised by telephone companies in recent times, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) placed a ban on telecommunications promos and lotteries.

But speaking in an interview with THISDAY, Adebayo said the major cause of poor service quality across networks should be blamed on natural and man-made disasters, rather than on promos and lotteries.

According to him, the natural disasters were caused by flooding in some southern parts of the country, while the man-made disasters were caused by spontaneous attacks on telecoms facilities in some northern parts of the country last September.

Adebayo explained that the attacks on telecoms facilities last September and other incidences resulted in severe service disruptions in the areas primarily affected and by extension other parts of the country.

"The impact of the attacks had since limited the ability of millions of Nigerian subscribers to access telecommunications services, because the incidents affected over 250 telecoms sites that lost connectio

He added that the unprecedented flood in some parts of the country destroyed Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) along its path, leading to significant service disruption in the affected areas, with consequential impact on service availability in some other parts that were not affected by the flood.

"Other than disruption to services, our members have lost equipment worth several billions of naira to the flood disaster across the country, as over additional 300 BTS sites were affected by the flood," Adebayo said.

He called on government to provide the necessary protection to telecoms facilities in the national interest of the country, adding that the infrastructure built and owned by the telecommunications industry is the springboard to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) revolution in Nigeria, which are essential for Nigeria's socio-economic advancement.

While agreeing with Adebayo's claims, the National President of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, told THISDAY that incessant promos and lotteries carried out by telecoms operators, were largely responsible for poor telecoms service delivery.

He therefore, commended the decision of NCC in placing a ban on promos and lotteries, adding that the promos do not benefit the larger number of subscribers, yet it disrupts service offerings of every subscriber.

NCC had last Monday placed an indefinite ban on all telecoms promos and lotteries, while attributing the current network congestion to promos and lotteries embarked upon by telecoms operators.

Some subscribers who spoke with THISDAY, hailed the decision of the telecoms regulator. They blamed the telecoms operating companies for deviating from their primary objectives of providing core telecoms services to their teeming subscribers, because they want to make quick money from promos and lotteries, to the detriment of subscribers who pay for the services from their hard-earned monies.

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