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Government, telcos urged to tackle poor services

07 July 2014, 16:19

Abuja - International Data Corporation (IDC), the global firm, urged mobile network operators and government to collaborate to stem the undesirable levels of service quality that continue to plague the industry.

IDC said while the industry has grown phenomenally over the year, poor quality of service remained the blight of the Nigerian telecommunications industry, with all mobile network operators falling foul of the regulator at various times over the years.

In February this year Airtel, Globacom, and MTN were handed month-long bans from selling SIM cards and suspended from engaging in any promotional activity until their QoS levels reached the required standards.

IDC was doubtful such stringent measures would have the desired effect.

“Banning sales of SIM cards is a new hammer for the regulatory body, and one it has introduced in an attempt to compel operators to comply with its stated QoS standards," said Oluwole Babatope a telecommunications and networking research analyst with IDC West Africa.

“Fines and limitations on marketing activities were the traditional sanctions of choice for the NCC, so this latest action marks a significant shift in thinking. However, IDC believes the ban on selling SIM cards will likely be as ineffective as the previous tactics because there is much more to enabling effective QoS than mere input or effort from the operator side.”

Babatope said the way forward is for the government to “protect rather than persecute” this sector of the economy.

“The telecommunications vertical in Nigeria has consistently increased its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) over recent years, rising from about 2 percent in 2006 to 8 percent in 2013. As such, it is in the government's interests to create and implement policies that provide an enabling environment for communication service providers. Indeed, laws should be established that protect telecommunications infrastructure and prosecute the vandals and individuals who sabotage telecom operations in the country.”

The local telecommunications sector has witnessed phenomenal growth since the turn of the millennium.

There are 120 million subscribers, representing 87 percent of the population.

– CAJ News

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