Ghana’s NCA gets tough on QoS with MTN and One Touch

Telecoms

Regulators across the continent are tightening up on mobile operators QoS. Nigeria and Senegal recently handed down hefty fines and this week Ghana’s NCA warned the two operators (MTN and One Touch) who control around two-thirds of the market to get their act together on this issue.

Speaking at a press conference held last Wednesday, the NCA spokesperson said:”With respect to systems inter-connect, the continuing challenges posed by the MTN and OneTouch to mutually provision circuits in a timely manner to match the growing traffic between them, and respond to faulty circuits has contributed to the less than desirable quality of service.”

He gave a time-limited warning to the two operators in no uncertain terms:”The inter-connect rules of engagement are clear, and any operator whose action leads to impeding inter-network traffic flows, with the resulting degradation of service, will be held accountable, and severe sanctions meted out”.

He set three conditions, one of which forbade the operators to take on new customers until their networks could handle them:

· To clean up their acts within the next thirty days, ending November 8th, 2007, or face severe sanctions.

· OneTouch must release sufficient E1’s to MTN to ensure free flow of traffic by end of business day, October 19th, 2007.

· OneTouch and MTN are being directed to cease new accessline activations until their networks are appropriately dimensioned to take on additional capacity.

He said: These two operators, as mentioned earlier, account for Eighty-Eight (88%) percent of the nations traffic flows; consequently any hitch in traffic flows will adversely affect service quality”.

He warned that NCA will set tougher QoS conditions in the future as the licence KPIs have clearly not worked:”Further, we have realized that as deplorable as the quality of service has been the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in the license conditions do not appropriately capture the realities on the ground. As a result, it is possible for service to be sub-standard and still be in compliance with the KPI’s”.

“Therefore in order to better align service level experience of the consuming public with the KPI’s we shall with immediate effect take steps to modify the KPI’s in the License Conditions. To complement the metric readings, we are negotiating with a reputable market research consultancy to undertake quarterly surveys of the quality of service as experienced by consumers. The output of these results will be made available to the public and also be factored in the Authority’s assessment of operators.”

This is the plainest warning yet to mobile operators who are consistently providing under-dimensioned networks and living of the rewards of doing so.