20 January 2013

Nigeria: Promos - NCC Sets New Hurdles for Telecoms Operators

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has expressed its readiness to lift the ban on promotions and lotteries by telecommunications operators.

However, the commission said the new dispensation would affect only operators who met the Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Eugene Juwah, who disclosed this, said the regulatory body was already carrying out the measurements to find out which operators met the KPI in December 2012 and was on the verge of releasing the results.

"We are carrying out measurements and when we finish, we will see the service providers that are meeting our thresholds. "The operators who meet our thresholds well, we will lift the ban on them, for the ones that do not meet the thresholds, the ban will still stay," he said.

Juwah said with the agreement NCC reached with the operators, the commission had given them enough time to repair and make the necessary investments on their networks.

He said the regulatory body and the service providers agreed that the KPI measurements should be carried out for December 2012 services.

Industry watchers, however, doubt if most of the prominent service providers can pass the quality test in view of a regime of poor network services over a period of time.

Consumers have complained bitterly of the difficulty in making calls in some of the network while accessing the data services of a particular operator have been extremely difficult for a long period of time.

MTN Nigeria, for instance, had attributed the poor services on its network in recent times to system upgrade.

NCC had on November 12, 2012 announced the ban of all promotions by telecommunications operators, as well as lotteries being carried out on the networks.

Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, had said in a statement that the ban would continue to remain in force until such a time determined by the commission.

He said NCC had been inundated with several complaints from consumers and industry stakeholders against the various promotions offered by operators.

According to him, the commission carefully evaluated the complaints received, especially against the backdrop of sustaining the integrity of the networks.

Ojobo also assured subscribers of the telecommunications umpire's resolve to ensure that the quality of service offered across all networks was such that delivered value to the consumers.

Based on the last KPI report, the NCC sanctioned four GSM operators, a cumulative amount of N1.17 billion penalty for poor quality of services in May 2012.

Ahead of the release of the report on the KPI for Dec. 2012, many subscribers have complained of poor services by the operators, with some calling for stiffer penalties against erring ones.

A cross-section of the subscribers said the poor services rendered by the operators had worsened, despite the ban on promo services by the NCC.

Mr. Silas Daniel, a businessman in Abuja, described the services of some of the service providers during the yuletide as "terrible".

Daniel noted that some of the operators had inundated the subscribers with unsolicited text messages during the yuletide period at different rates.

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