Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ernest Ndukwe, has decried shortage of interconnection engineers in the country, just as he dismissed hope of licensing more GSM operators in the near future. "There is shortage of interconnect engineers in the country," he declared. He said that there was only one interconnect engineer doing all the work for GSM operators and telcos.

The NCC boss attributed congestions to non-availability of infrastructure to carry the demand of subscribers.

"Today, if they (operators) reduce SIM card price to about N1,000, the networks would crash," he declared.

Although, he agreed that the operators of telecommunications in the country are not communicating to their subscribers enough on infrastructural problems, saying it should not be so.

"Operators are not talking to subscribers enough to explain infrastructure problems," he acknowledged, adding that at times, and even now, "To call within networks - Econet and MTN is even difficult because of congestion of capacity. And until this is soughted out, the problem would persist".

NCC, on the other hand, he believes was not either more open on issues in the last years, but assured that this year, 2004, "NCC has resolved to be more open with its processes" by making more information available for the people to understand what they are doing.

He cited an instance of interconnection, and said that its not like a switch awaiting to be turned on, but has a dual contribution of necessary lines for interconnect and there is a period of three months within which to conclude this processes.

Daily Champion