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9,077 operators’ outages disrupt telecoms service

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About 9,077 cases of service outages recorded by major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the second quarter of the year disrupted operators’ Quality of Service (QoS) and intermittent Quality of Experience (QoE) by the consumers.

The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Adeleke Adewolu, disclosed this in a presentation delivered during the first Virtual Telecoms Consumer Parliament (VTCP) hosted by the commission. A statement yesterday signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, confirmed this.

According to Adewolu, of the 9,077 service outages recorded by the operators, 3,585 were caused by denial of access to telecoms sites for maintenance, 4,972 triggered by fibre cuts from construction activities and vandalism, while 520 were caused by generator and battery theft at sites.

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Adewolu, however, noted that in a proactive step to mitigate the challenges, the commission had swiftly responded by taking some major decisions to resolve any unforeseen challenges that might cause serious disruption in service delivery to the consumers throughout the period of the COVID-19.

He added: “We also ensured that the service providers meet the needs of their teeming consumers by securing Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecommunications officials and staff for easy movement during the lockdown. This was to ensure ease of movement to service base stations and other telecom facilities and equipment.”

The ECSM called on all stakeholders to join the commission in enlightening citizens on the need to protect telecom infrastructure in their domain without which quality of service delivery would be hampered.

He noted that the numerous complaints received from consumers by the commission since the outbreak of the pandemic were indicative of the widening gap between the QoS and QoE, which, according to him, needed to be addressed.

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“Service providers must embark on pervasive consumer education and enlightenment campaign about data usage and billing to ensure their subscribers have all the required information to make informed decisions to get value for money. Operators also need to train and equip their customer care personnel on consumer complaints management as well as ensuring that consumer’s complaints are resolved conclusively and in line with the revised Service Level Agreement (SLA),” Adewolu said.

He warned service providers to refrain from indulging in unwholesome practices such as modification of data plan without informing the consumers, putting out advertorials without prior approval by the commission, changing the names and nomenclature of promotions from what was approved, among others to short-change the consumers, warning that the commission would not hesitate to sanction erring operators.

Adewolu noted that the consumer’s Code of Practice requires that once a contract agreement is signed, both parties should adhere to the contract terms and conditions and where a change is required, the validity period should end before any modification is effected.

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