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Subscribers react to mobile telcos punishment

25 February 2014, 07:08

Abuja - Mobile network subscribers have raised concern at the sanctions that the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has imposed on the operators over poor quality services.

The NCC approved the sum of N647.5 million as sanction fee against MTN, Airtel and Globacom for breach of key performance indicators (KPIs) and poor quality of service for the month of January.

A breakdown of the sanction showed that Globacom was penalised, N277.5 million for three breaches, while MTN and Airtel got sanctioned N185 million each for two breaches.

The commission was reported to have given the fourth major telecoms operator, Etisalat, a clean bill since it met the set key performance indicator.

All three firms were said to have been barred from selling Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards or carrying out promotional offers until March 31 when the NCC would carry out the next audit on the companies.

While some subscribers said that the sanction is a welcome development, others described it as an attempt to cripple the telecoms sector which they said had witnessed tremendous development in recent times.

The president of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Deolu Ogunbanjo, said that such heavy fines on telecoms companies were not in the best interest of the industry.

He insisted that the NCC could have explored other means to compel the telcos to meet their KPI and not necessarily through heavy fines.

“I have said it over and over that heavy fines are not in the best interest of the telecoms firms or the subscribers. At the end of the day, NCC gets the money and the subscriber who suffered the problem for which the sanction was imposed gets nothing.

"I support mild sanctions that would put them on their toes, not sanction that would cripple their businesses and financial capacities to upgrade their facilities,” he said.

Ogunbanjo however expressed support for the aspect of the sanction that bars the telecoms firms from selling SIM cards or carrying out promotional offers.

Lagos businessman, Kunle Adebisi, said the sanction is a welcome development as the poor services provided by the telecoms firms had affected his business negatively.

Adebisi said he often found it  difficult to make calls on the network of one of the sanctioned firms, a development he said has made him lose several businesses and appointments.

“I support the sanction on them. They can't just continue to promise on a service and persistently refuse to provide such services. I support the action of NCC and I hope the affected firms will take corrections and improve on their services,” he said.

Adebisi is however of the view that the fine which has been imposed on the telecoms firm should be shared among telecoms subscribers across the country.

Another subscriber, Nkem Nwaeke, said both the telecoms firms and the regulator were not sincere with the subscribers.

“Both sides are just playing games while the subscribers keep suffering. Seriously, I don't think both parties are sincere with us. Yes, there is a bad service, but the telecoms firms say they have challenges that government should look into. On its part, NCC insists on quality at all cost.

"They impose sanction in place of low quality of service but at the end of the day, the subscribers who suffer the bad service get nothing. Seriously, I think we subscribers are at the losing end over this issue,” he said.

– CAJ News

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