Nigeria: NATCOMS Pushes for N595 Billion Compensation for Poor Service QualityNigeria: NATCOMS Pushes for N595 Billion Compensation for Poor Service Quality

Telecoms

The National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) is calling for immediate compensation of N595 billion for all the 119 million subscribers across all networks, for various inconveniences they had suffered over poor service quality in the last 12 years.

NATCOMS, in a protest letter, is demanding the payment of N5,000 to each telecoms subscriber, by telecommunications companies in the country, as compensation to the 119 million subscribers, totalling N595 billion.

The letter, dated August 2, was addressed to the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), the umbrella body of all telecoms operating companies in the country, and made available to ThisDay.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the telecoms regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, was also copied in the protest letter.

President of NATCOMS, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, who signed the letter, said the compensation could come in the form of recharge cards that would allow subscribers to call any network.

He said subscribers have exercised total loyalty to telecoms operators in the past 12 years, by passing through stormy weather, and through the operators' thick and thin experiences, even in the face of poor service quality.

Part of the letter read: "Twelve years after, the telecommunications subscriber/consumer is groaning in pains as a result of poor quality service of the telecommunications operating companies. Some of the operators' network challenges are: dialling a number between 5-10 times before getting connected/not-connected; dialling several times and still getting call fail messages; Moving from one place to the other in search of network signals before receiving or making calls; When you dial and eventually connected, you will be a lucky subscriber if both caller and recipient can hear each other without voice-breaks; Often times, the caller/recipient may hear the recipient/caller, while the caller/recipient cannot hear; debiting of subscribers' account for undelivered text messages; inability to recharge especially at the point of utmost need; deliberate wiping out of subscribers' airtime after successful recharge; inability to reach out to customer care when there is urgent need to make complain to the network operator; delay in responding to customer complaints from the customer care desk; network congestion through all manners of promos, among others.

Ogunbanjo, who hailed the NCC for various fines it imposed on telecoms operators for poor service quality on their networks, however frowned on the way the money was channelled.

According to him, such money ought to be paid directly to subscribers that suffer the brunt of poor service quality, instead of paying them to the NCC.

Ogunbanjo said when GSM was introduced in Nigeria in August 2001, operators gave subscribers on their networks, N6,000 free airtime to call any network, insisting they could also do so now, as compensation for poor service quality in the last 12 years.

"We appreciate this gesture as the introduction of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) in Nigeria in 2001 has brought about positive changes for individuals, corporate organisations, government at all levels and the country at large. It has saved thousands of lives in emergency, created and still creating jobs for many Nigerians, eased communications within families, work places and across nations," Ogunbanjo said.

He added that apart from bringing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country and appreciating Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it also brought foreign and local investors' confidence to the Nigerian economy and nation.

"Be that as it may, the service quality profile that describes the performance evaluation of the system from the consumer perspective, using specific parameters has been poor."

In telephony and other services, the parameters used to assess service quality include call failure rate, call drop rate, call set-up rate, call completion rate, billing accuracy, voice quality, network outages/ downtimes, spectrum efficiency, international roaming, traffic channel congestion, among others.