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Thursday, June 28, 2007

MTN may face NCC wrath

Global System for Mobile (GSM) operator, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, may face the wrath of the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), over poor quality of service (QoS) and lack of adherence to earlier directives.

This indication emerged through the Commission’s Secretary, Mr. Felix Adeoye, who said that the directive became imperative due to degenerating quality of service on the network, just as it said that MTN response to its earlier query is not ‘unacceptable’.

A letter in respect of the direction titled ‘Issuance of Direction to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited’ dated June 14, 2007, a copy of which was sighted by Champion Infotel, the commission said that it was in pursuance of Section 53 (1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.

The letter endorsed by Mr. Adeoye, pointed out that by virtue of the provision of Section 104 (a) of the same Act, all service providers shall in respect of their specific services meet such minimum standards of quality of service as the Commission may from time to time specify and publish and by its letter dated May 26, 2006 the Commission forwarded the agreed and final version of the QoS indicators to all mobile operators including MTN for implementation.

Mr. Adeoye also noted that by a notice of intention to issue a direction dated May 28, 2007 sent to MTN by the Commission, the telco was mandated to within seven (7) days to comply with the agreed quality of service parameters and submit to the Commission on a weekly basis the report of its achievements on the stated parameters; suspend all current promotions until such a time as MTN achieves an acceptable quality of service level and will be required to compensate subscribers on its network as long as the poor quality of service subsists.

NCC said that by MTN response dated June 4, 2007 that it’s impossible for any operator to comply with the QoS indicators within seven (7) days.

MTN response also stated, “The directive to suspend all current promotions will not be in its best interest, that of the subscribers and will be anti-competitive and unfair.”

Just as the directive to pay compensation by MTN to its subscribers was described by the telco as punitive, unprecedented and retroactive.

Mr. Adeoye also said that the Commission reviewed the reasons advanced by MTN and is not satisfied with most of the reasons in view of the fact that even in MTN’s “it conceded to the quality of service challenges it is faced with.”

Hence, NCC after due deliberation on this matter found that MTN has not complied with the quality of service threshold specified in the notice of intention to issued direction and no new QoS performance indicator was introduced in its notice of intention to issue a Direction as alleged by MTN.

Whereas its call retention ratio with a minimum at 98 per cent of successful call set up remained the same as call drop rate of not more than 2 per cent published in the QoS indicators for mobile services.

Therefore, in exercise of its powers contained in Sections 4 (1) (b), 53 of the NCA, 2003 and Condition 30.3 of the Digital Mobile Licence, the Commission having also considered the appeal of MTN, hereby directed MTN to should comply with the QoS parameters stated the said intention to issue to issue.

“MTN should comply with quality of service parameters stated in the said notice of intention to issue a Direction and should submit to the Commission on weekly basis a report of its achievements on these parameters for an initial period of ninety (90) days or until the QoS improves,” NCC said.

As said by the Commission, it expects to receive the first report on June 25, 2007, instructing that the telco should not embark on any future promotional activities geared towards encouraging more minutes of calls in excess of its current capacity for a period of ninety (90) days in the first instance.

This shall take effect within seven (7) days from the receipt of this direction, and the direction not to embark on future promotional activities as in above may be subject to a thirty (30) day review, so as to monitor improvements in the quality of service level.

“In the event that MTN fails to comply with this direction, the commission shall in accordance with the Nigerian Communications enforcement processes, it would regulations 2005 impose a fine in the sum of =N=5, 000, 000. 00 (five million Naira only) and a further sum of N500, 000.00 (five hundred thousand Naira only) per day that such penalty remains unpaid and for as long as the contravention persists.

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