A number of mobile telecommunication service providers in Nigeria have reacted with shock to the news that they have been slapped with poor quality of service penalties by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Many were of the opinion that they are not solely to blame for the poor quality of service, as some factors have been beyond their control. Etisalat CEO Steve Evans said the penalties are surprising, considering that the NCC has recognised Etisalat as the number one quality operator in Nigeria for three years in a row.
“The failure to hit some of the quality measures could not be attributed alone to capacity expansion but also by other factors which represent industry-wide challenges. Foremost among these is the absence of reliable power which necessitates that every one of over 3 000 cell sites needs to be served by two generators which run 24 hours a day and need regular maintenance and provision of weekly supplies of diesel.”
Mobile service operator MTN was also quick to highlight the various factors facing their delivery of service. “MTN suffers more than 70 cuts to its fibre on a monthly basis. Indeed, in April this year, MTN had cause to publish full page announcements in the newspapers, alerting the public to the growing incidence of criminal damage to MTN’s infrastructure in various parts of the country and the impact on quality of service in the country, particularly the South East, as well as Port Harcourt, and Onitsha, Lagos, Kano and Abuja,” said MTN’s Corporate Services Executive Akinwale Goodluck.
He also cited security as a problem in Nigeria. “Moreover, the heightened insecurity in several parts of the country also limited MTN’s ability to carry out routine maintenance and emergency repairs.”
While a number of operators have received penalties, Airtel Nigeria has been ranked the best operator for good quality of service by the NCC, based on the Commission’s Audit Report for March and April, 2012.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor