Nigeria's GSM operators link poor quality of service to erratic power supply, others, say NCC fines are counterproductive
WorldStage Newsonline--The four Nigeria's mobile phone services providers, Glo, Airtel, MTN and Etisalat have jointly reacted to the recent N1.17 billion fines imposed on them by Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) over poor quality of services offered to their subscribers in March and April, 2012, saying the action was counterproductive.
In a joint statement, the operators accepted that there was poor services provision, but that the major factor affecting network quality was the absence of a reliable source of power.
Other factors said to have led to poor services include frequent cuts of fibre networks which link cell sites; indiscriminate closure of sites by ministries, departments and agencies of the federal, state and local governments in pursuit of multiple taxation; and insecurity in operating environment.
The operators appealed to the NCC, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency and other relevant agencies to put in place suitable environment for them to continue substantial investments in their networks.
While they put their investment in networks in the last 10 years at N1 trillion, they projected further N400 billion investment this year.
“While we continue to make these investments which will also improve service quality, it needs to be pointed out that in the telecommunications industry, such investments do not yield the requisite improvement in service quality until well after 12 months,” the statement said.
On the NCC fines, they expressed concerns that they would not bring about the desire quality improvements or offer a lasting solution, “ but will merely deplete essential resources that would otherwise be deployed for network roll out.
They said: “Due to the capital-intensive nature of our operations, we are concerned that a regime of sanctions will inevitable erode the confidence of the financial institutions and critical partners in the industry.
“We are also concerned that it could create an atmosphere of anxiety and regulatory uncertainty which is unattractive to investment.”
While issuing the sanction, NCC had disclosed that it had in the months of March & April 2012 monitored the standard of quality of service of the four network networks, saying the monitoring report indicated that the Companies had failed to meet the minimum standard of quality of service including the key performance Indicators as specified in Schedule 1 table 2 of the Quality of Service Regulation 2012.
It maintained that the performances in the months of January and February 2012 as being below the specified thresholds, adding that for the purpose of enforcement of the new Quality of Service Regulations, the Commission had taken these periods as grace period.
NCC revealed that in the months of March and April 2012, the operators had failed to meet the minimum standard of quality of service including the key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) as specified in Schedule 1 Table 2, therefore contravening the provision of Section 104 (a) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 and is liable to pay fine.
According to the letter communicating the decision of the commission, all the operators are expected to pay the penalties on or before may 21, 2012 or liable to payment of addition 2.5 million naira per day for as long as the contravention persists.