The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has sanctioned three out of the four major network operators in the country - MTN Nigeria, Globacom and Airtel - the sum of N647.5 million for breach of key performance indicators (KPIs) and poor quality of service for the month of January 2014. It however gave Etisalat a clean bill as it met all the set KPIs.
The telecoms regulator, in letters dated February 19, 2014, addressed to each of the affected companies, said after collating statistics from the network operating centres of the operators in the month of January, discovered that the services provided by MTN, Airtel and Globacom fell below the KPI published by it in 2013.
The letters, which were obtained exclusively by THISDAY from a source in the Ministry of Communications Technology, will be delivered to the three network operators today.
A breakdown of the sanctions indicate that Globacom was penalised, N277.5 million for three breaches, while MTN and Airtel got sanctioned N185 million each for two breaches. According to the letters conveying the breaches and sanctions, the NCC set four critical KPIs - Call Setup Success Rate (CSSR), Drop Call Rate (DCR), Traffic Channel Congestion (TCHCONG) and Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channel Congestion (SDCONG).
With a target of 98 per cent for CSSR, MTN, Airtel, and Globacom failed to meet the target in January. They scored 96.85 per cent, 96.99 per cent and 96.89 per cent respectively.
In the DCR category, NCC set a target of 1 per cent. The audit report referred to by NCC in its letter stated that for the month of January, MTN and Globacom failed to meet the target, while Airtel exceeded the target with a score of 0.84 per cent.
For the SDCONG KPI, with a target of 0.20 per cent, Airtel and Globacom failed to meet the target, scoring 0.40 per cent and 0.58 per cent respectively, while MTN exceeded the target with a score of 0.17 per cent.
For the last KPI, TCHCONG, with a target of 2 per cent, all the three networks exceeded the target, as MTN scored 0.55 per cent; Globacom - 0.79 per cent; and Airtel - 0.79 per cent. In summary, MTN failed to meet the targets set in the Quality of Service Regulations for the CSSR and DCR computations; Globacom failed to meet the targets set for CSSR, DCR and SDCONG computations; while Airtel failed to meet the targets for CSSR and SDCONG computations.
The operators are expected to pay the sanctions on or before March 7, 2014. Should they fail to pay the sanctions within the stipulated deadline, each of them will be liable to pay N2.5 million daily, as long as the contravention persists.
Apart from the monetary sanctions, all the three operators were barred by NCC from selling new SIM cards throughout the month of March 2014, with effect from March 1 to March 31; barred from churning or deleting from their networks inactive (or non-revenue generating SIMs) during the period March 1 to March 31; barred from supplying new SIM cards from their warehouses to dealers or third parties during the same period; and stopped from all promotions until the identified KPIs considered are positively addressed.
The letters further stated: "NCC shall carry out an audit of MTN, Globacom and Airtel on March 1 and also on March 31to ensure no sale of SIM cards or churning of non-revenue generating SIMs occurred during the period, either using their network provisioning systems or directly on the HLR.
"Any deviation or alteration of patterns (in terms of average daily number of provisioning) in the remaining days of February 2014, compared to your regular provisioning rate, shall be construed a breach of this direction."
From this audit of the performance of the telecoms operators, the Ministry of Communications Technology source confirmed that Etisalat met all KPIs for the month of January and was therefore not sanctioned by NCC.
NCC had in a letter last December issued a notice of intention to sanction the telecoms firms, if their quality of service did not improve by December 31, 2013.
It had warned: "If the quality of service does not improve by 31st of December 2013, the commission will be compelled to direct operators to, amongst others, suspend the activation of new SIMs and subscribers until such an operator can prove that it has met the key performance indicators specified in the regulations."