NCC declares ’state of emergency’’ on Quality of Service by operators

NCC expects release of new price for data
United Bank for Africa

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) worried by the degenerating Quality of Service (QoS) provided by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other service providers has declared a state of emergency on their quality of service.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made this known in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by Mr Tony Ojobo, the Director, Public Affairs of NCC.

Danbatta spoke on Monday in Abuja at an interactive session on the quality of service delivery with MNOs and the management of NCC.

Danbatta said that NCC had declared 2017 as the year of the consumer, adding that all hands should be on deck for telecom consumers to have a fresh lease to high quality of service.

He said that the consumer had to be treated with dignity, adding that the eight-point agenda of the commission had put the consumer first.

He explained that NCC had put measures in place to check and monitor QoS on various networks.

“And we have sent this report to our taskforce on QoS and have been interacting with government at different levels as part of the measures to deal with the poor QoS,” he said.

Danbatta admonished the operators and co-location service operators to provide suggestions on how to address the situation.

He said that NCC had appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make FOREX available to operators.

He said that the appeal to CBN by NCC was part of measures to cushion the situation and ameliorate the recurrent inaccessibility to foreign exchange by operators.

Danbatta told the operators that the commission had written to the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele and he was favourably disposed to addressing the FOREX needs of the operators.

“Specifically, as a follow up to the letter, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, NCC, Mr Sunday Dare had a meeting with the CBN governor and extracted a commitment from him on how he hoped to address the FOREX needs of the operators,’’ he said.

Earlier, the NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Mr Ubale Maska was also quoted as saying that QoS had been a great concerned as consumers inundated the commission with complaints.

“It requires everybody’s input if the situation has to be redressed, hence 2017 has been declared the year of the consumer.”

The NCC Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity (DTSNI), Dr Fidelis Ona, explained that the commission was aware of some of the challenges faced by operators.

Ona said that the challenges included Right of Way (RoW), Force Majeure, difficulty in acquiring new cell sites, multiple taxation and regulation, vandalism, power supply among others.

“We are engaging stakeholders, including industry working group on QoS, special committee on Counter Harmonisation to address this,” he said.

NCC’s Head, Quality of Service Unit, Mr Edoyemi Ogoh in his presentation traced poor quality of service to fibre cuts, community issues, among others.

Ogoh said that in October 2016, operators experienced 175 cuts across the nation while they recorded 180 cuts in November 2016 and 103 in December, 2016.

“There were 113 community issues in October 2016, 74 in November 2016 and 133 in December 2016, fibre cuts and community issues remain major drawbacks for QoS,’’ he said.

In their various presentations, some of the operators painted a grim picture of their encounters, especially in an economy that is going broke.

Mr Hassan Jamil, the Chief Technical Officer, MTN Nigeria, expressed happiness with the interactive session as it helped the regulator to know their situation.

Jamil said that the demand for both voice and data services were on the rise but they were unable to catch up on investment because of scarce FOREX availability.

“We planned 100 sites for Abuja but after a very longtime, we were only able to build six because of the bottlenecks of getting approvals and until we resolve these, quality of service will be a mirage,” he said.

Similar situations were painted by representatives of Globacom Ltd., Airtel Nigeria, Etisalat, American Towers Company (ATC), IHS Ltd., among others.

He added that the NCC boss encouraged the operators to be more creative by adopting alternative source of energy like solar power as a stop gap.