" ITREALMS: Operators express dismay over incessant summons


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Operators express dismay over incessant summons

Telecommunications operators in the country and precisely those of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), may be groaning under the pains of constant invitation to attend a meeting by the National Assembly.

Champion Infotel recalls that between the last quarter and date, there is no fortnight operators were not summoned to Abuja with members of the National Assembly in the name of trying to find a solution to the lingering poor quality of service in the land.

Sources close to the operators, indicated that they maybe planning for formal protest to President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, over the effect of the somewhat weekly summons, which they said have become irritating.

According to our sources, the operators expressed dismay over the insistence by the national assembly that their chief executives must lead the team each time such a meeting is called.

“What we asked is an enabling environment to do our business. Our business is not conducted at the National Assembly, and we need to deploy our executive time to our businesses,” one of the operators fumed after the public hearing on Monday, at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Our sources further said that they would force its umbrella body, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), to forward a protest to the Presidency and the leadership of the National Assembly over the situation.

It was gathered that the operators were not excited over the frequency of the meetings, which they said have resulted to duplication of the industry supervision by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and wondered why the operators would continue to respond to NCC summons and the National Assembly summons at the same time.

“We have the telecommunications laws and regulations that guide our operations in this country, and we have not defaulted in any one of them, and if we did, we expect the NCC to give sanctions as provided by law and not the National Assembly,” our source declared.

In yet another dramatic session, the operators lamented the inability of telcos to make their presentation on mere grouse that their chief executive was not in attendance.

It was equally gathered that following the failure of Celtel to make its presentation owing to its chief executive, Mr. Bayo Ligal’s absent, a threat was issued by the chairman of the joint committee, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, for future absentees.

One of the GSM operators informed that the private operators are not government agencies or parastatals that should be summoned to the National Assembly at all times because as private telecoms providers, they have no business going to the National Assembly on weekly basis.

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