Nigeria: New Regulation On Service Quality Ready in Two Weeks


A new draft regulation that will regulate the operations of telecoms service providers in the country and ensure that operators provide quality service and are held accountable if they fail, will be ratified in two weeks by the Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah , who disclosed this in a telephone chat with THISDAY stressed that the commission was not folding its arms but had been hampered by a lack of regulation that has made direct action to enforce service quality unlawful.

He said the new regulation will give teeth to the efforts of the commission to make service quality in the industry unquestionable. He said the NCC recently appointed a task force to look into the immediate and remote causes of poor service quality, adding that the task force has come out with a draft regulation that will be presented to the Board of the commission in June.

Juwah said that with the new regulation, operators who offer service below the accepted quality thresholds will be penalised and pay a fine of N5 million in the first instance and N500, 000 thousand for every day that poor service quality subsists until it is rectified. He reiterated that no operator has been penalised because there is no regulation in place to address the issue.

He said that in the meantime, the commission has been meeting with operators to intimate them of the quality of service indicators observed by the commission and to call operators to order. He added that with the new regulation set to be ratified, operators will sit up.

Recall that NCC had two weeks ago directed all network operators in the country to take immediate steps to improve the quality of services including stoppage of promotions where the capacity is limited. Juwah, was said to have given the directive after a meeting held in Abuja with representatives of all the network operators in the country including MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat.

He was said to have expressed worries over 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 at the meeting that the monthly data capture and analysis has shown that the network congestion has continued to increase.

"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.

He 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. Another official said where operators are expected to keep this indices below 0.1 percent, the figure stood at about 2.5 per cent in March this year, suggesting a very worrisome trend.

The Commission said it has also 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".

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 said in some cases, state governments made it impossible for roll out and expansion of services due to excessive taxation and impossible conditions.

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.