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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

N50 compensation in order – ALTON

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said that the recent compensation of N50 per subscriber imposed on its members by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over persistent poor quality of service (QoS) was in order.

Champion Infotel recalled that last weekend, NCC raised yet another ‘Notice of Intention to Issue Direction’ on poor and unacceptable level of quality of service among the three major Global System for Mobile (GSM) operators, namely Celtel, MTN Nigeria and Glo.

Just as the commission recommended that telcos compensate subscribers as long as the poor Quality of Service (QoS) subsisted, which must take effect from this month, October.

According to NCC, there shall be N50 per subscriber monthly compensation where there was 2 to 5 per cent traffic channel congestion and 5 to 10 per cent would attract N100 per subscriber per month and congestion level over 10 per cent, equally would attract compensation of N175 per subscriber.

Commenting on the penalty on QoS, ALTON chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said that although some Nigerians may say that the amount of compensation is not much, it is something very significant and it’s a welcome development.

This measure, he stressed showed that NCC is not sleeping on its responsibility and amounts to a huge sum when collectively matched against the over 35 million subscribers across the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) networks.

“We welcome NCC penalty to operators on QoS. NCC is working in accordance with international standards and Nigeria cannot create her own standards,” he told Sunrise daily on Channels Television at the weekend.

He also said that the N50 when calculated against about 15 million subscribers on a given GSM network would amount to about N750,000,000 m.

He equally pointed out that Nigerians must not forget so soon where we were coming from and the position of NCC, noting that operators in the country are daily striving to build a network.

Rates, he said, should be considered alongside available capacity and ability to deliver, noting that call rates are basically commercial issues that should be left to market forces.

He also noted that frequency of technology evolution largely affects the kind of service delivery and rate that consumers get at the end of the day.

Noteworthy is that a letter to compensate subscribers addressed to the operators and dated September 19 and 20 respectively, signed by the commission’s secretary, Mr. Felix Odeoye, stated that NCC has been inundated with complaints from subscribers on the issue of poor and unacceptable level of quality of services across the telcos.

NCC, therefore, required the telcos to pay compensation to the subscribers on their networks on monthly basis as long as the quality of service lasted beginning this month.

The commission, further said, it would consider more sanctions if the congestion above this threshold is found to persist for extended period of time without being corrected to the satisfaction of the regulator.

The compensation, NCC said would take effect from Monday, October 1, 2007 and must be paid before October 7, but subsequently in the event of the telcos not being able to meet the Quality of Service (QoS) guideline, NCC may invoke more sanctions.

NCC maintained that its position was in accordance with the provision of Section 53 of the Nigerian Communications Act of 2003.

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