‘Why quality of telecoms service remains poor’
RECURRING challenges that have bedeviled the growing telecommunications sector remain the monster while Quality of Service remains poor in Nigeria.
Those challenges include, but are not limited to inadequate power supply, multiple taxation and regulations, vandalization of telecommunications infrastructure, Right of Way (RoW) challenges, and infrastructure deficit among others. .
Executive vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, in a paper presented at the second yearly stakeholders conference in Lagos of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) held at the University of Lagos, Akoka, admitted that the Quality of Service currently being experienced is not acceptable but having gone through the rigors of several meetings with operators, it is proper to let the public know that the regulator is not complacent. “Only the elimination of some or all of these will provide the critical success factors in finally eradicating quality of service challenges”, Juwah who was represented by NCC Director, Public Affairs Tony Ojobo said.
The EVC who threw more light on the problem said that the public hearing held by the National Assembly in 2008, power was considered to have contributed more than 40 percent to QoS issues.
Telecommunications depend on power to run 24/7. Just as individuals in Nigeria generate their power, so has telecommunications services generated much of the power it utilizes. The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, has put the estimated cost of running two generators in each of the over 25,000 base stations sites in Nigeria today at about N5 billion monthly. ATCON said while Nigeria’s service provider spends 80 per cent OPEX (operating expenses) on power generation, in Malawi, it is just some five per cent. This captures the explanation as the service providers would have been in a position to channel more resources to tackling the issues of QoS.
On multiple taxation and regulation, Juwah said “we have a very nagging issue of regulations and taxes awaiting the telecom operators at different levels of government. Some of these regulations are made outside of the purview of the telecom regulator. There are states and local governments where telecom infrastructure is seen as fertile ground for improving internally generated revenue as these infrastructures must be available to make services possible. In some areas, state governments, local governments, or even some federal government agencies have had to force a close down of base stations with the implication of disconnecting many localities from the network thereby adding to the QoS challenge” .
RoW issues where governments at various levels, individuals or communities, prevent the service providers from installation of equipment without which there will not be good quality of services in those areas.