Monday, 14 May 2012
Nigerian Communications Commission Fines Telecommunication Industry $7.3 Million Over Poor Services
VENTURES AFRICA- Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has fined telecommunication service providers in Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, over poor service and call quality.
The telecommunication companies were fined after failing to improve the quality of their services on dropped calls and bad line quality in the months of March and April. The commission revealed in a statement that the companies were given the chance to improve the quality of their services in January and February.
According to NCC’s spokeman, Reuben Muoka; Bharti Airtel Ltd. of India, Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat, local firm Globacom Ltd and South Africa-based MTN Group Ltd have been fined a total sum of $7.3 million over poor service and call quality.
Etisalat and MTN are billed to pay $2.25 million (N360 million) each, while Airtel faces a penalty of $1.68 million (N270 million) and Globacom faces a $1.125 million (N180 million) fine –making a total of N1.17 billion ($7.3 million). They are to pay these sums of money by May 21 or face further penalties of N2.5 million daily.
The companies were warned last October on facing penalties if they fail to improve on the quality of their service.
“The current penalties signal a new regime of quality of service management in the Nigerian telecommunications industry,” the commission said.
However, following the issuance of the fine, some telecommunications company in Nigeria have offered a rebuttal.
According to the CEO of Etisalat’s Nigeria division, Steven Evans, lack of reliable electricity and sabotage were to blame for poor services.
“Foremost among these is the absence of reliable power which necessitates that every one of our over 3,000 cell sites needs to be served by two generators which run 24 hours a day and need regular maintenance and provision of weekly supplies of diesel,” a statement released by the company said.
The company which has about 10.75 million subscribers according to the data released by the commission have also revealed that it is investing more than half a billion dollars in expansion of our network capabilities and capacity.
On its part, South Africa-based MTN responded that inadequate power supply, insecurity and multiple regulations and taxation makes it harder for the telecoms company to provide excellent service.
“MTN suffers more than seventy cuts to its fibre on a monthly basis. Indeed, in April this year, MTN had cause to publish full page announcement in the newspapers, alerting the public to the growing incidence of criminal damage to MTN’s infrastructure in various parts of the country and the impact on quality of service,” MTN’s Corporate Services Executive, Mr. Akinwale Goodluck said in an interview with Vanguard.
With land lines almost non-existent in the country, the telecommunication companies services Nigeria’s population of over 160 million people but several service users do not rely on one telecommunication service as most times they have secondary lines to fall back on if their primary lines are down.