ALTON seeks better environment for operators in Nigeria
Telecoms operators under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), is seeking better working environment for service providers in the country, and described the present operating environment as harsh, thereby limiting upgrades and expansion.
ALTON made this call at the 81st edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP), organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in Lagos with the theme: “Celebrating the Telecom Consumer.”
ALTON’s Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, an engineer, who made this call, said the challenge of site closure needs to be addressed, noting that the Ogun State Government had shut down 25 telecommunication sites for various reasons.”Consequentially, this will affect the quality of service of telecom consumers,” he said in reaction to a complaint by a telecom consumer in Ogun State.
“The average consumer will blame the service providers for the connection experience, but we know the impact closure of sites does have on our services. This issue remains a major challenge on the quality of service in the industry.”He listed other challenges as equipment theft; where stolen materials are sold in the open market.
“Another issue is permit. For instance, no service provider has been able to install new telecom site in Abuja, because the authorities will not grant operators to build a telecom site. This again has its impact on consumer experience. However, we will do the optimum in our stead to give the consumer a good experience, because they are centric to the industry.”
Corroborating Adebayo, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska, said service delivery is dependent on the availability of certain key infrastructure. “One of these is the masts. As mentioned, some states are closing sites. Why do you not have cables in your homes and offices? It is because these services are delivered. The masts make them wireless as they represent the cable. If those sites are closed or unavailable, there will be no service. There are areas in the country where permission is yet to be granted for the establishment of sites. We have an increasing tele-population, but few sites; therefore, there will be challenges on quality of service. On security, there have been issues of vandalism and theft.
“However, the Commission has little control, and we ensure that the operators make required corrections at par with the necessary guidelines. While, for those beyond our control, we engage the appropriate stakeholders just that it does not happen as fast as we would have wanted.”
In his welcome address, the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Abdullahi Maikano, said the TCP has proven to be an innovative way of bringing all the stakeholders together to discuss and proffer solutions to industry wide issues especially the concerns that touch consumers’ interest and wellbeing.
‘’For us at the Commission, the consumer continues to occupy a pride of place in our activities, hence the management of the NCC has continued to remain a veritable for alternative dispute resolutions (ADR). The TCP initiative of the 2442, and 662 short codes have also helped the NCC to amongst others; provide updates on current development in the industry, provide vital information that are beneficial to both the consumer and other stakeholders. It also educates the consumers on issues that will aid them in making informed choices; gauge the impact of its policies and regulations; and guide the Commission to focus on what matters most to the consumer.”
In his open remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the NCC as a Consumer Centric Regulatory Organisation decided to celebrate consumers of the Nigeria Telecom industry consistent with the agenda of his appointment.
Speaking through the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Sunday Dare, he said: “the Commission has taken steps to ensure that the telecommunication sector remained vibrant, and carries out its regulatory functions to ensure that the companies operating in the industry are healthy. Where necessary, NCC has made interventions to prevent disruptions to consumers’ experience. In addition to ensure that the licences in the industry continue to operate as viable businesses, we have commenced aggressive enforcement of the NCC’s Code of Corporate Governance.”The platform was further used to emphasise the campaign of the 2442, and 622 short codes to ensure consumer satisfaction and protection.”
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