- Telcos Blame Govt for Low Service Quality
Telecoms operators have blamed the government for the poor telecoms services in the country.
The operators, acting under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said the actions of government and its agencies contribute to low service quality.
Its Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo who spoke on the sideline of the last Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) in Lagos, lamented that some state governments have turned telecoms infrastructure to bait with which they extract funds from the telcos.
He cited Ogun State where no fewer than 25 Base Transmission Stations (BTS) had been sealed up by the state government and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where carriers had been denied approval to expand capacity through the building of new BTS.
He said: “We have problem with Ogun State government over site approval payment and also what they call the grant rental payment and what has happened in the last six months is that our members that provide services there have had issue with the planning authority there.
“By last count, 25 sites have been shut down by the government of Ogun State; two of those sites are hub sites providing services to neighbouring states of Oyo and part of Lagos. The impact of that will be bad consumer experience; we are engaging them, and we do hope that the matter will be resolved in matter of days. But more than closure of sites and reopening of sites, what is worrisome is the trend of site closure due to the issue of revenue collection, and I think these are issues that should be clearly separated.
“The government is looking for money; let them do so by other means not by services that will have security implications. For the fact that there are no services in those parts of the state as we speak , the people there are open to all kinds of experiences which they may not be able to report to police and other security agencies.”
According to Adebayo, these developments underscore the need to have tlecoms infrastructure classified as national security and economic infrastructure where nobody at any level of government will have right to shut down.
“We have written a letter to the governor of the state but it sends a very bad signal because the fact that sites are being made as baits to extract money from service providers, is not the right thing to do and we think the level of our development has gone far beyond that,” he had said.
Speaking on carriers’ challenge in Abuja, he said the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority (FCDA) said the masterplan of the FCT did not foresee the emergence of mobile telephony and made no provision for its infrastructure.
“What we were told was that when the masterplan was made, there was no provision for telecoms infrastructure understandably so because 40 years ago, there was no popularity of mobile services. So, we have been engaging with the authority of the FCTDA for the purposes of approval of sites but the fact is that none of that has happened I got information from the director of NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) now that a meeting was held about two weeks ago and the minister had committed to getting something to happen soon but the experience we have in Abuja is a function of the fact that we don’t have sufficient capacity to support subscribers in Abuja,” he said.