- Telecoms Subscribers Blame NCC for Poor Quality Service
Telecommunications subscribers have said that the increased adoption of mobile number portability services in the country, being encouraged by the Nigerian Communications Commission, is an indication of the poor level of service quality on telecoms networks.
Some of the subscribers spoke to our correspondent on Friday, while reacting to the NCC’s declaration of a state of emergency in the quality of service being provided by mobile network operators and others.
Prior to declaring the state of emergency on Monday, the commission had expressed worry about the degenerating service quality and vowed to sanction any errant operator.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had said, “The consumer has to be treated with dignity. The eight-point agenda drives this point home.”
However, a subscriber based in Lagos, Mr. Lanre Oguntade, said that as long as the NCC continued to encourage porting, “then it (NCC) shouldn’t expect the quality of service to drastically improve.”
He said, “The networks on all the major GSM companies are terribly bad; so where is the NCC asking us to port to? The implication is that Nigerians will end up porting to all the four networks of MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat that are providing us with poor service.
“In other parts of the world, even in some parts of Africa, it is rare to find people with multiple mobile lines and smartphones. This is so because the quality of service in their various countries is superb and to ensure that the subscribers don’t resort to porting, the regulators and telecoms firms in these countries keep making the service quality better.”
Another subscriber, Victor Okechukwu, said, “The NCC’s declaration of a state of emergency is only a waste of time. It should instead collaborate with the telecoms companies and concentrate its effort on improving the quality of service.”
He added, “And one of the things it has to do in this direction is to stop porting. By encouraging porting, the NCC is simply telling subscribers to port to another network if the other defaults, rather than looking at ways of improving the situation.”
Subscribers under the auspices of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers shared Oguntade and Okechukwu’s views.
NATCOMS said that there should not have been any reason for number portability at all, if the NCC had ensured many years ago that telecoms operators achieved the minimum coverage to be able to provide high quality of service to subscribers across the country.
The President of the association, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said though the industry had attracted a lot of infrastructure investment, majority of which has been channelled into building of telecoms infrastructure, more investment is still needed to achieve ubiquitous telecoms infrastructure to drive the economy.
“Unfortunately, the MNP will continue to be an option for subscribers using the over 153 million active lines in the country until we are able to achieve the quality of service that is satisfactory to all telecoms subscribers on their respective mobile networks,” he said.
Commenting on the development, the Director, Public Affairs at the NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said, “The MNP is not a compulsory service that people must subscribe to. If some subscribers see a need for it, they may switch from their current network to another; and if not, they remain on their current network.”
According to him, as a need-based value-added service for willing subscribers. “It is not expected that the MNP will witness a surge in uptake over time,” he said.
He added, “Since the MNP is based on the decision of the subscribers to either port or not to port, I believe we are having impressive uptake, coming mostly from individuals who have seen a need to migrate. The beauty of porting services is freedom of choices.”