MTN Nigeria has embarked on the upgrade of its pre-paid platform to address the difficulties that its subscribers experienced in recharging their phones.

This is even as subscribers on the network continue to complain about increasing cases of call drops and uncompleted calls on its network. In fact, there is general anger about the freakiness of the MTN network. Addressing the media in Lagos at the weekend, John Krige, Acting Chief Technical Officer of MTN, said that the pre-paid platform upgrade is in fulfillment of MTN's pledge to always ensure the provision of world-class telecommunications services in Nigeria.

According to Krige, the new system would ensure that customers experience smooth and uninterrupted recharge transactions on the network. The improvements to the prepaid platform should also result in flawless accessibility to credit balances by subscribers all over the country.

But commenting on the crucial problem of call drops, Krige said that it had to do with the transmission problem that the network is currently experiencing. He said that MTN currently uses Microwave transmission links, which is not very adequate for a network of its size, stressing that with the nature of Microwave, the network was bound to have some problems of call drops.

He, however, said that the company was already addressing the problem with the laying of fibre optic for its transmission across the country. He explained that the fibre optic links, which the company is building, would provide a permanent solution to the present problems of dropped calls on the network.

Krige said that according to the plan of MTN, the laying of fibre optic links in the East would be completed by the end of the year, while the West/East link would be completed by the second quarter of next year. Once these fibre optic links are completed, MTN would have unlimited capacity.

He, however, said that in the medium term, the company would provide extra capacity to the Microwave links to solve the immediate problems of subscribers.

Krige said that MTN is employing the best of technology in the pre-paid platform upgrade stressing that the CS three platform it is installing is the second to be installed anywhere in the world after Turkey.However, whilst the upgrade process continues, MTN Nigeria is taking all possible precautions to ensure a flawless service to all its customers. The company therefore executes all upgrade activities after midnight, in order to minimize the effect of any unintentional disruption of service to customers.

"It is pertinent to add that hundreds of upgrades take place as a matter of normal business, of which customers are usually completely unaware. In spite of all our efforts to minimize disruptions, it is possible that customers may experience some challenges within the period that this exercise will last," the company said. The effect of the upgrade exercise can affect pre-paid customers in any geographic area where the system is centralized.