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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NCC to operators: Stop promos, improve Quality of Service

Recent poor quality of services is upsetting the telecommunications regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

This is coming as the telecommunications operators in the country were last weekend summoned to a meeting directed by the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

ITRealms Online gathered that the summon enabled the operators to explain first-hand what are the key issues in delivering good quality of services (QoS) on the telecom networks.

However, the operators were directed to take immediate measures that will improve their quality of services including stoppage of promotions where the capacity is limited.

Also, the Commission’s officials lamented the inability of the operators to meet with some of the key performance indicators for ameliorating the challenge of quality of service.

The Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Dr. Balarabe Sani, said the monthly data capture and analysis has shown that the network congestion has continued to rise.

“On most of the networks, there are too much drop calls, poor network availability, poor service accessibility and poor voice quality while one way or two way lack of audio in several connections abound,” he said.

Sani also said the analysis showed that several Base Station Controllers (BSC’s) are congested in terms of Radio Traffic Channels (RTCH), and Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channels (SDCCH).

Equally, another official said operators were expected to keep these indices below 0.1 per cent, which is currently reportedly stood at about 2.5 per cent in month of March this year, stressing that this suggested a very worrisome trend.

The Commission’s officials further said they have discovered the presence of “many weak and dead signal zones in major cities through our QoS Drive Test monitoring exercise which is attributable to lack of network optimization and improper radio network planning.”

On the in interim measures directed by the Commission to arrest the trend, he said, these include the need to suspend the use of Bulk Short Messaging Service, (SMS), for all kinds of campaigns and suspension of all promotions except where adequate capacity were provided on the network to carry the volume of traffic generated from such activity.

The Commission noted that henceforth, it would revisit the issue of network roll out obligations when necessary but will also meet with Chief Technical Officers (CTOs) and network managers of the operators regularly to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to address the issues.

“We urge all the service providers to, in addition to their current efforts, embark on massive capacity improvement especially in the radio access networks in order to reduce the current network congestion, while optimizing their existing network infrastructure,” he said.

The representatives of the operators who spoke in turns blamed part of the problems on some governments at the local and state levels, as well as individuals who use jammers to dislocate services.

They alleged that in some cases, state governments make it impossible for roll out and expansion of services due to excessive taxation and impossible conditions. Equally, the operators singled out the Abuja Capital Territory where its administration has made it extremely difficult for the operators to expand services through deployment of the required base stations, and Cross River State where the State Government has brought several difficult conditions for the operators, including excessive taxes.

Director of Consumer Affairs at the Commission, Mrs. Mary Uduma, while indicating that the Commission will assist in the liaison with some of these agencies, especially with security agencies to curb the vandalisation of telecom infrastructure, requested the operators to always ensure that consumers are informed about outages whenever they occur, and to improve their customer care centres to respond adequately to the needs of the consumers.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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