NCC warns mobile operators over unstable network service

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has read the riot act to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) over the poor quality of service recorded on their networks, saying the downward trend cannot be allowed to continue.

A source privy to the development revealed that the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta handed down the warning to the MNOs and infrastructure providers at a meeting at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja yesterday.

He was said to have noted that Quality of Service (QoS) had worsened over time with monitoring reports from November last year to January showing deterioration in QoS and failure of operators to meet benchmarks.

The source who does not want to be identified because he is not the NCC official spokesperson quoted Prof Danbatta as saying: “We have anecdotal complaints from consumers that they are experiencing poor quality calls, while this is anecdotal, our technical findings also showed deteriorating quality. So for the first time, there is a convergence between what consumers are saying and what our technical people are finding out. “So the QoS is really bad in the period from November last year up till now.”

Buoyed by its technical findings and the series of complaints from consumers, the NCC summoned the mobile network operators and their infrastructure providers to the meeting at which the Executive Vice Chairman warned that “it is not something we can allow to continue.”

According to the source, the NCC’s chief stressed that the regulator will continue to perform its role in the sector while ensuring that consumers are protected especially in view of the Commission’s declaration of 2017 as the Year of the Consumer.

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The NCC will henceforth, periodically publish information on the quality of service offered by MNOs as part of measures to ensure consumers are not short-changed and to empower the consumer with information regarding which operator to trust.

For operators, the technical report will provide the opportunity to know each other’s performances and enhance competition.

Telecoms consumers in Nigeria had complained about call seizures, drop calls, poor voice quality, voice freeze, wrong billing and other operators’ shortcomings that had caught the attention of the regulator.

MNOs however reportedly asked NCC to assist them in dealing with the challenges militating against their ability to deliver acceptable quality of service with the leading problem being damage to fiber optics cables better known as fiber cut in the industry.

Other problems identified by the operators at the meeting are the non-availability of foreign exchange to buy the needed hardware for expansion and network maintenance, illegal and arbitrary shut down of towers by various agencies and state governments. Others are multiple taxation and lack of approval for building new base stations as well as challenges of power supply.

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