Several weeks after a ban was placed on promotions and lotteries on all mobile networks, by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to help check network congestion, telecoms subscribers have continued to lament the poor service quality from operators.
The indefinite ban on all promos affects the four GSM operators; Globacom, MTN, Airtel and Etisalat, and Visafone, Multilinks and Intercellular in the Code Division Multiple Access sub-sector. Starcomms is not affected.
The ban, which received mixed reactions from telecoms subscribers and stakeholders in the industry, was perceived as a move that would decongest the networks and give subscribers value for their money.
However, several weeks after the ban, subscribers who spoke to THISDAY, were of the opinion that instead of getting better, the network congestion seems to be getting worse.
They also lamented the fact that they were not allowed to enjoy the traditional yuletide promo, despite the poor network.
Questioning the motive behind the ban, a subscriber named Maduabuchi said, this is the season where subscribers should have been rewarded with a lot of freebies and allowed to make free calls with less pay but it is really very unfortunate that we are getting the opposite.
He said: "What we are served now by the GSM telecoms operators is 100 per cent call drop rate, poor reception, poor service delivery, poor connectivity, all for more money. It is very embarrassing and must be addressed by the regulators."
Maduabuchi added that the promo and lottery ban has not brought about any noticeable improvement in the quality of service, thus putting the subscribers at the receiving end.
"Mobile telecoms subscribers are losing. We have nothing to show for out loyalty to these operators except poor service delivery for more money" he added.
Another subscriber, who gave her name as Ms. Ifeoma stated that banning the promos by the NCC has had no positive effect whatsoever on the stability of the network quality in recent times.
"Banning the promos by the operators was unfair to the subscriber especially as the NCC who serves as the regulators are empowered to ensure that the licensees meet required standards from time-to-time. The subscribers need to know who have failed; the regulators of the operators," she said.
National President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, (ATCONS), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said, the intention of the ban may be well meant by the regulatory body, but the aim is not really being achieved because of some major challenges.
"With a subscriber base of over 100 million, mobile network operators in Nigeria depend on less than 20,000 base stations to meet the demands of their increasing customers. The implication is that there is capacity crunch in the telecoms industry, he said.
President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, on his part, explained that the promos are a way for most operators to give back to the society, while empowering Nigerians and shouldn't be cut out.
"Subscribers who are not be able to recharge their phones to speak with their friends and loved ones see the promo as a channel to gain bonus credit as well as reduced tariffs and must be allowed to enjoy this service," he said.