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Monday, March 10, 2008

MTN, Celtel to pay subscribers N4.7 bn compensation

Two major Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators, MTN Nigeria Communications and Celtel Nigeria, have been sanctioned by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to pay about N4,720,012,500 billion to active subscriber-base of 26,971,500 on their networks the sum of N175 each, as compensation for poor Quality of Service (QoS) as at December 31 2007.

ITRealms Online recalls that in the last quarter of 2007, apex telecom regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) issued a directive to the three major GSM operators in the land, including Globacom, MTN and Celtel.

NCC said, there would 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, would attract compensation of N175 per subscriber.

Its action, the regulator said, is in accordance with the provision of Section 53 of the Nigerian Communications Act of 2003, but was consequently dragged to court by the duo of MTN and Celtel.

This compensation, ITRealms Online also gathered would come inform of credits or top-ups for the affected subscribers, just as MTN is expected to pay 15,873,000 subscribers on the network as at December 2007, Celtel would tackle 11,098,500 customers amounting to N2,777,775,000 and N1,942,237,500 respectively.

Sources close to NCC affirmed that directive to this effect has been issued to the two affected GSM operators.

It was equally gathered that MTN and Celtel are tasked to pay this compensation as at the end of January 2008, stressing that the two failed short of the specified Key Performance Indicators (KPI) average by NCC for what was tagged ‘quality of service on the national coverage.’

Worried by the QoS, the national assembly through the Senate Committee on Communications, led by Chief Sylvester Ndubuisi Anyanwu recognised this fact and held a public hearing in Abuja as well as promised it would be extended to the six geo-political zones of the country.

Noteworthy is that a letter to this effect addressed to the GSM operators and dated September 19 and 20, 2007, 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.

Responding to the notice, the two out of the three GSM operators had taken NCC to court on October 2, to restrain the proposed directive supposed to have taken effect as from October 7, 2007.

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