27 January 2013

Nigeria: Network Glitches Continue After Yuletide, Amidst Tariff Crash

A month after the yuletide, network congestion witnessed before and during the Xmas period has continued.

The media over the last few months has witnessed a barrage of campaigns by network providers scrambling for the share of voice in the market in the midst of crashed tariff and low quality service.

For example many subscribers in the last few months have complained of increased number of drop calls, SMS charged without delivery, re-bounce call clash, charges without calls and data operation and re-vibrated calls.

A cursory look into the telecommunications industry shows that network providers are not making efforts to do it right even in the face of serious network congestion which has led to abortion of some contractual agreements.

These reasons have led to subscribers giving for more in order to escape the ordeal of network failure, yet its the same, no network provider has been able to escape mouth wagging from subscribers.

The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) recently banned promotional campaign to help improve the networks, yet this has not helped matters even though some business owners have complained of the ban which they claimed has affected their business, thus leading to drop in their daily sales.

Charles Egwu, a business center operator wrote to this reporter in a letter titled;.....

Before now, it was reported that the attack on communications facilities by the Boko Haram sect in Borno State was responsible for the congestion of the network.

The three masts destroyed in Borno state during the period in question belonged to MTN, Glo and Airtel mobile service providers. The masts belonging to the three network providers destroyed by the sect has create communication problem for telecommunication operators, cyber cafe, and banks in these area.

In Lagos in the past one month and half, services have been terrible, likewise in banks, last week Friday (21-12-12) many banks customers could not make withdrawals over the or with their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards. If Borno facilities were attacked does it affect Lagos, and other Western States, The East and the South South queried George Akporo, a businessman who lost a contract of N500,000 as a result of the lull in communication.

Efforts made to speak to a communications engineer to ascertain the telecommunications model operated by the telecommunications companies proved abortive as no one can be located.

A major dealer in MTN, Glo and Airtel products in ASPAMDA, Lagos spoken to find out if the attack in Borno has any direct bearing on the Lagos network, told Vanguard and described the attack as an attack on the economy, but noted that patronage of telecommunication services in Lagos had dropped by over 30 percent particularly at Christmas when business is expected to flourish.

He however blamed the slow nature of business on the ban placed on promos and the congestion in network, pointing to the fact that subscribers having been losing a lot and do not want to waste their hard earned money.

Another dealer on the same product in Lagos said before the present network situation he used to sell between N105,000 to N125,000 daily but that has dropped to between N96, 000 to N110,000.

Febian Okwuchukwu, a recharge card dealer in Lagos said the poor service has affected patronage of his business. He noted that the worst hit by the network failure is MTN, Glo and Airtel recharge cards. Subscribers to Airtel services were bitter over the rate at which the telecommunication company remove money from their account where they did not make calls.

First to complain was Femi Okulaja, a teacher with a private school in Lagos, said Airtel just removes money from my account without notice. A call to confirm the complain by subscribers, the company said that the subscriber may be using a 3G phone which invariably means that money will be charged on such phones.

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