… NCC orders network improvement
By BISI OLALEYE
Obviously piqued by frivolous promotional activiteis and poor quality services by telecommunications operators across the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stopped all forms of promotional activities or lotteries embarked upon by operators with immediate effect.
The companies affected are Globacom, Airtel, MTN, Intercellular,Visafone, Etisalat and Multi-Links.
According to a statement by the commission’s Public Affairs Director, Tony Ojobo, this ban covers all proposed and approved promotions and lotteries on which the commission has given approval further to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered into with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC).
He noted that the Commission has been inundated with complaints from consumers, industry watchers and stakeholders against the various promotions offered by telecommunications operators.
“Consistent with its processes, the commission has carefully evaluated the complaints received especially against the backdrop of sustaining the integrity of the networks, the general interest of the consumers, the socio-economic impact of these promotions on Operators and other relevant stakeholders.
“The commission is also mindful of its statutory responsibilities such as; to protect and promote the interest of consumers against unfair practices, promote fair competition in the industry by protecting operators from misuse of market power and anti-competitive/unfair practices by other operators.”
Ojobo noted that these promotions have increased the number of minutes available to subscribers for use within a limited period of time thereby creating congestion in the networks as subscribers try to use up the available minutes within the stipulated time.
Explaining further, he reeled that on-net calls were now being offered by operators at tariffs well below the prevailing inter-connect rates thereby introducing anti-competitive practices and behaviour. “Termination of calls were becoming increasingly difficult from one network to another and overall consumer experience on the networks has become very poor thereby making it extremely difficult for subscribers to make calls successfully”.
Meanwhile, the commission has assured all telecoms consumers of its resolve to ensuring that the quality of service offered across all networks was up to standard and delivers value to consumers. It will be recalled that early this year NCC sanctioned the four telecommunications operators for N1.17 billion for not meeting the Key Performance Indicator target(KPI).
The four that were fined were MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat. MTN Nigeria and its counterpart, Etisalat Nigeria, paid N360m each, while Airtel also coughed out N270m and Globacom N180m as fine. Not too long again , the Commission raised another alarm to sanction operators if they fail to meet the set KPI at a given time.
However, the operators had always been to swift to tender various excuses ranging from generator theft, multiple taxation to the recent floodings and terrorists attacks. While the operators see their promos as ways of rewarding brand loyalty, stakeholders believe that the congestion from these promos ,which are not adequately prepared for ,contribute largely to why the networks have continued to drop.
Meanwhile, as at press time, Chairman Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo could not be reached on phone for his reaction.