Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ndukwe predicts bleak Yuletide for subscribers

Chief executive, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has predicted a bleak yuletide for Global System for Mobile communications subscribers in the country, reports Obi Chinemerem.

Speaking at the December edition of the monthly Telecom Consumer parliament in Lagos, Dr. Ndukwe foresaw a gloomy festive season for Nigerians due to deteriorating telecom services.

He also warned operators to live up by improving on their networks through adequate expansion plans.

He stressed that the poor quality of service in the sector is long over due for correction and tasked operators to wake up to this challenge.

“Nigerians would experience network congestion this Christmas season as current infrastructure and transmission facilities may not be able to cope with the expected high volume of traffic, he said.

He noted that unless the service providers expand infrastructure to carry the current capacities in their network which experts say is already over subscribed, the possibility of a smooth holiday telephony would not be achieved this 2007.

Dr. Ndukwe admitted that network problem is a global issue but noted with optimism that “not too long, Nigeria will become one of those best countries in the world if enough capacity is expanded by the operators.”

Although he said that the quality of service in the country has improved as expected, he promised that Nigeria will continue to build infrastructure until we get to an appreciable stage and charged network operators to ameliorate network congestion.

“The problem in the network is carrying capacity. We must continue to build it even up till the next five years. We may not expect a perfect network now. There is not even a perfect network in the developed countries. We need more base stations. Let us hope that network quality will improve especially, this Christmas season, when there will be more congestions in the networks. The operating companies must do something now to abate the impending congestion to the barest minimum”, he said.

He tasked the operators to be proactive and build more capacities in order to abate drop calls.

“We do not have enough capacity to the size of the network. The consumer deserves best QoS. That is the bottom line. It is very important that the operators prepare for the challenges ahead. That is the simple truth of the matter”, Ndukwe said.

According to him, the quality of service leaves the country without much to be desired, while the entry costs and tariffs are still high, the number of complaints about poor service delivery is still unacceptably high and it has been taking too long to address them.

industry, who were present at the occasion, were adviced to stop charging for services they do not render to consumers.

He further stated that consumers be given value for their money when he said that it was wrong and did not conform with international best practices for GSM operators to continue to charge N100 from subscribers migrating from billing options to another.

He also faulted the issue of misleading adverts as he specifically, directed culprits to withdraw misleading adverts, which they are running. According to him, important facts that would aid right decision-making about the service are always missing in the adverts or are in very small print in the adverts.

Lamenting further, he disclosed that the idea behind the consumer parliament was to give consumers the voice to express themselves and to ease the difficulties encountered in lodging complaints, by consumers, Ndukwe noted that there was the need for the operators to expand their human resources in customer care centers across the country.

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