This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: NCC Optimistic About Telecoms Service Quality in 2013

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has predicted exciting telecoms activities in 2013 that would bring about pleasant customer experiences, despite the challenges the sector passed through this year.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who gave the prediction in Lagos at the weekend at a media parley, said the prediction was based on the activities that the commission would be rolling out in 2013.

Juwah, who spoke through the Head of Media and Publicity of the commission, Mr. Reuben Muoka, listed activities for the new year to include the commencement of Number Portability, the conclusion of SIM card registration exercise, the auctioning of broadband spectrum licenses and the broadband project rollout in more cities and communities across the country.

"All these are activities, which the commission has lined up for next year, within the first quarter of the year, and they are meant to cushion the effect of the challenges of poor service quality that rocked the telecoms industry this year," Juwah said.

Apart from rolling out programmes that will better the lots of subscribers, Juwah said the commission would as from next year instill stiffer regulations that would attract sanctions to any operator that will not meet the standards set out by the NCC in maintaining best service quality. He explained that NCC had commenced another round of quality test on all networks as earlier promised, and that any operator that does not meet up with the commission's Key Performance Indicator (KPI) test standard, would face outright sanction.

Telecoms subscribers suffered a great set back in their businesses and personal communications this year, occasioned by poor service quality across networks.

The networks deteriorated to the extent that subscribers could not make successful calls and those who were able to generate partial calls after several trials, ended up not hearing the call recipient, yet they were debited each time attempted calls were made.

Apart from voice calls, the data communications system of virtually all network providers were also affected, as customers to data services like the internet, were having difficult time accessing the internet, after buying and loading data airtime into their modems.

It is either the network operators deliberately allowed the challenges to pile up beyond what they could handle or the network challenges are far beyond what the operators could handle. For several years running, the issue of poor service quality on the networks kept reoccurring, while the operators were not mindful of the impending dangers, but were rather developing strategies in increasing their subscriber numbers.

Some stakeholders have blamed network operators for deploying substandard telecoms facilities, while others accused them of not expanding their network in a commensurate manner at which they sign on to new subscribers, blaming the situation over subscription on limited network capacities.

Investigating the entire issue from the angle of telecoms promos and lotteries, the NCC felt that promos and lotteries were the major cause of the challenge, and moved to ban lotteries and promos, yet the challenges persisted.

Telecoms operators have their own defence, as they are blaming the situation on insufficient infrastructure rollout, insisting that government did not provide infrastructure for telecoms rollout, and that operators were compelled to continually plough back their profits in expanding their network infrastructure. They also blamed the situation on the recent flooding in some southern parts of the country, and the incessant attacks on telecoms facilities, like Base Transceiver Station (BTS), in some northern parts of the country.

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