For improved services, CBN to assist telecoms operators with forex


Subscribers Demand Compensation
There is no respite for telephony subscribers, as quality of service continues to sustain a low profile in the country.

However, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday, said it is seriously addressing the problems experienced in the country, adding that it has already engaged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for improved access to foreign exchange by operators.

For the past eight months, telephone users, about 155m, have been subjected to poor quality of service, ranging from drop calls, call set up failure, poor call retention, weak signals, fluctuations, crosstalk, echo back, unsolicited text messages, consistent, but unwanted tele-marketing, among others.

Even data services have failed to improve. It still takes several minutes before a subscriber can either upload or download a video.

The President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMs), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, has also decried the state of telephony services, stressing that NCC should find lasting solution to the menace.

While admitting there are still challenges in the industry, Ogunbanjo said NCC should monitor the service providers to ensure that they meet the set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), “failure of which should attract bigger sanctions.”

The NATCOMs President said nothing stops the NCC from mandating the operators to reward subscribers with at least N5000 airtime to compensate for the poor services rendered.

Speaking with The Guardian, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said, “there is no poor quality of service that ordinary Nigerians suffer that I as the Minister of Communications don’t suffer. I too get unsolicited SMS, drop calls and all sorts and because we are part of it. We shall continue to work on all the providers of services for them to improve. In fact, I have had cause to read the riot act to them. It must however be a case of carrot and the stick, because we know in our conscience that the circumstances they are operating are also not particularly favourable. An example is the state of electricity in this country. It also affects services and greatly.”

Speaking on behalf of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the President, Olusola Teniola said: “Right from the number of base stations deployed, traffic engineering, fibre deployment, capacity management. The build up of the infrastructure in supporting basic telephony and more advanced supplementary services is seriously being challenged.”

NCC Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo in a chat told The Guardian that operators had complained of the challenges in accessing foreign exchange to bring in new equipment to replace the ageing ones and also expand infrastructure.

He disclosed that the commission has requested all the networks providers who are bringing in equipment to approach the CBN to submit their application for forex to replace aging equipment.

Ojobo also noted that because the power situation in the country has not improved, the telecom operators are thinking of bringing in green technology to reduce their dependence on diesel and the national grid.

In this article:
ATCONCBNDeolu OgunbanjoNCC
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