Friday, 28 March 2014

Telecoms operators panic over fresh fines

                                    Telecomms towers
Mobile telecommunications operators, especially those recently fined by the Nigerian Communications Commission, are apprehensive that the regulator may impose additional fines on them due to the persistent poor quality of services they are offering. The apprehension, our correspondent learnt from sources in the Ministry of Communication Technology and infrastructure service providers, was heightened by the persistent poor service conditions of the telecoms networks and the rising complaints by subscribers.

Our correspondent gathered that the NCC was now religiously monitoring the Key Performance Indicators in the quality of service regulation and would not relent in dealing with any errant operator considering that the KPI had already been amended before the last set of fines were imposed, with some industry constraints put into consideration.

A source at the NCC, who preferred not to be named, told our correspondent that the commission was carefully collating statistics from the Network Operating Centres of all the major networks on a daily basis. This is to help arrive at a tentative monthly report on the quality of services. Some telecoms operators, it was also gathered, were exploring the advocacy option through third party players to justify their plight as far as service quality was concerned. This line of action became necessary following claims that they were already handicapped by environmental factors.

The NCC had made Airtel and MTN to pay N185m each, while Globacom paid N277.5m earlier this month.
The operators, according to investigation, are also under pressure from the Ministry of Communications Technology to improve on the quality of services they render.
Our correspondent gathered from government sources that the performance of the ministry was, to a large extent, hinged on the quality of services of operators.

The Executive Secretary, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbolahan Awonuga, told our correspondent on the telephone on Wednesday that the government needed to holistically address the fundamental issues in the industry instead of resorting to fining the operators.
Awonuga, who also said cases of sabotage were contributing to the persistent poor service condition, called for the speedy passage of the bill that recognised telecoms infrastructure as critical national assets.

Source: Punch

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