• Wants NCC to check operators’ excesses

A Subscriber Group has beckoned on telecommunications operators in Nigeria to make rural telephony a priority in 2022.
The group, Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS), equally appealed to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure subscribers get value for their money this year.

ATCIS President, Prince Sina Bilesanmi, in a chat with The Guardian, said several towns and villages are yet to be connected to basic telephony service.

Indeed, last year, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said there were still some 114 access gaps in the country, where some 25 million Nigerians were yet to enjoy telecommunications services.

Bilesanmi said, “None of the telecoms service providers were yet to cover all towns and villages within Nigeria up till now. Many towns and villages were still left unconnected, if they are connected, subscribers tend to benefit more. It will enable them to reach and do their business from far and near. I believe it will also help them avoid becoming victims of kidnappers and bandits.”

He stressed that telecoms operators can deepen expansion in the remote areas by collocating with each other. According to him, the over 150 million telecoms subscribers can benefit more this year if operators improve their services at all times. He said telephone users benefit more when they get value for their money. “This is where NCC comes in and ensures that subscribers are not cheated.”

Related News:  Kuda’s Losses Deepen To £25.2m As Company Faces Penalty For Corporate Governance Failings

The ATCIS President also urged the operators, especially MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile to improve their customer service operations, stressing that subscribers’ complaints should be treated with all urgency.

Bilesanmi, who said ATCIS would continue to advocate better services for consumers across the six geo-political zones of the country, stressed that “quality services must be provided at all times. They should not promise A and give B, as subscribers can no longer tolerate poor services. Unused data must be rolled over provided it has been paid for.

“Service providers’ representatives must stop delaying subscribers both online and at service centres. Telcos should also ensure that subscribers, who have done or link their NIN to their SIM, should not be bombarded with messages on the same subject matter again. It looks confusing!”

Earlier in the year, the President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Deolu Ogunbanjo, said because the network is expanding, quality of service has not been addressed.

Ogunbanjo noted that since 2022 started, subscribers have been battling drop in voice and data services. “Drop in data service quality is even worse. QoS is poor, people are just managing.”

Related News:  Agbakoba Tells FG To Fix Own Refineries, Make Dangote Irrelevant

The NATCOMS boss, who said he doesn’t know when services will improve, noted that the on-going NIN-SIM exercise is also impacting concentration from telcos. “I think we would be able to really know where the problems lie when the validation exercise ends. For now, I think only about 60 per cent of the subscribers have been captured.”

According to him, the country needs more base transceiver stations (BTS) investments for services to improve to some extent. “While UK has about 70,000 mast to cater to the needs of 67 million people, while in Nigeria, with over 200 million population, we are only a bit above 30,000 in terms of BTS availability.”

Ogunbanjo called on the NCC to wield the big stick of sanction on any erring operators that would not make subscribers enjoy their money.

He said in the last 10 years, NCC had been consistent in terms of monitoring the performance of operators, “but it appears the commission has slowed down. Operators need to be put on their toes for the betterment of the industry.”