" ITREALMS: Data congestion hits Starcomms

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Data congestion hits Starcomms

The joy of the Third Generation Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator, Starcomms Limited for crossing a million subscribers base, may be short-lived as consumers witnessed unprecedented disconnection of data volume on the network in the past weeks.

Investigations carried out in the Lagos area on Starcomms network showed that the disconnection was over-whelming in the Ikeja, Oshodi-Isolo and some parts of Mushin and Okota areas.

Champion Infotel recalls that Starcomms recently announced it has crossed over a million subscribers and is now aiming at two million, even as it attributed this to the Unified Access Service License granted in year 2006 the telco by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the rise in market share.

It was gathered that the frequency of intermittent disconnection made most subscribers in these areas to crowd the next customer care centres nearest to them.

Most of the Starcomms subscribers at the Customer Centre along Toyin Street, Ikeja showed that the highly affected customers were those on 1x EVDO platform, forcing them to come along with their laptops.

One of the customers who spoke to Champion Infotel on anonymity said he resides along Adoniyi Jones and was most humiliated because he just renewed his subscription of over N15, 000 per month on the 1x EVDO.

As said by our sources, he spend more time these days trying to reconnect than using the Internet that he paid for.

“My brother that was not what I bargained for,” he lamented, wondering if the 1 million subscribers are only on the EVDO platform to warrant the kind of slowness, that is, if eventually connected.

Another customer who gave his name as Mr. Tolu, confirmed, the likelihood of data congestion on Starcomms network, especially now that the rainy season is almost here.

For him, a check on his call log to know how many times he tried logging on after a disconnection indicated that he made an average of 16 connection trials after witnessing 16 disconnections within a space of three hours.

In addition, each time he manages to connect it is only one out of the five indicator bars that is highlighted, meaning the level of service quality available at a given time, thus too sluggish that even a dial-up should have performed better.

He also said that this experience has been persistent both day and night and that made him to come penultimate Thursday to the centre.

The most painful aspect of it, Tolu lamented that he just paid for 24 hours but now he rarely uses three hours in a day and spends more precious time waiting for Internet pages to open.

However, industry watchers believe that CDMA technology also deployed by Starcomms has always provided better capacity for voice and data communications than other commercial mobile systems, unfortunately this one is failing Nigerians.

Efforts to get Starcomms public relations to comment on the report proved abortive.

This, they explained, is based on the fact that every communicator will be allocated the entire spectrum all of the time, thus CDMA utilizes codes to identify connections.

Company sources informed that the hiccup would not be confirmed until after the long public holidays by the management.

Efforts to get the response of the management of Starcomms led by the chief executive, Mr. Maher Qubain, concerning this experience, was still being awaited since last weekend.

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