NCC declares state of emergency in telecoms sector over poor service

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has declared a state of emergency in the tele-communications sector due to the degenerating Quality of Service (QoS) provided by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other service providers.

This was revealed in a statement on Monday signed by the Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Tony Ojobo, which said that the Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, held an interactive session with the operators in Abuja on the quality of service delivery.

Danbatta told the operators that since the NCC had declared 2017 as the year of the consumer, all hands should be on deck for telecom consumers to have a fresh lease to high Quality of Service.

“The consumer has to be treated with dignity” Danbatta added, saying the “8-point agenda drives this point home.”

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

“As part of measures to cushion the situation and ameliorate the recurrent inaccessibility to foreign exchange (forex) by operators, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, told the operators that the Commission had written to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and he was favourably disposed to addressing the forex needs of the operators,” the statement read.

“Specifically, as a follow up to the letter, the Executive Commissioner (Stakeholders Management), NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare had a meeting with Mr. Emefiele and extracted a commitment from him on how he hoped to address the forex needs of the operators.

“The NCC, he explained, has put measures in place to check and monitor Quality of Service (QoS) on various networks “and we have sent this report to our task force on QoS and have been interacting with governments at different levels as part of the measures to deal with the poor QoS.”

NCC Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity (DTSNI), Dr. Fidelis Ona, explained that the Commission is aware of some of the challenges which include Right of Way (RoW), Force Majeure, Difficulty in acquiring new cell sites, multiple taxation and regulation, vandalism, power supply among others but declared that the NCC is engaging stakeholders, including Industry Working Group on Quality of Service, special committee on Counter Harmonization to address this.

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

Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Hassan Jamil expressed happiness with the interactive session saying “demand for both voice and data services are on the rise but we are unable to catch up on investment because of scarce forex availability.”

“We planned 100 sites for Abuja but after a very long time 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.”

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

“The NCC, he explained, has put measures in place to check and monitor Quality of Service (QoS) on various networks “and we have sent this report to our task force on QoS and have been interacting with governments at different levels as part of the measures to deal with the poor QoS.”

NCC Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity (DTSNI), Dr. Fidelis Ona, explained that the Commission is aware of some of the challenges which include Right of Way (RoW), Force Majeure, Difficulty in acquiring new cell sites, multiple taxation and regulation, vandalism, power supply among others but declared that the NCC is engaging stakeholders, including Industry Working Group on Quality of Service, special committee on Counter Harmonization to address this.

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

Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Hassan Jamil expressed happiness with the interactive session saying “demand for both voice and data services are on the rise but we are unable to catch up on investment because of scarce forex availability.”

“We planned 100 sites for Abuja but after a very long time 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.”

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