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Poor QoS persists 19 years after GSM revolution

By Ken Nwogbo
31 July 2020   |   4:26 am
It will be 19 years this August since the introduction of the Digital Mobile Communications services popularly referred to as GSM in Nigeria.

It will be 19 years this August since the introduction of the Digital Mobile Communications services popularly referred to as GSM in Nigeria.

The acceptance and growth rate among the Nigerian populace has had serious and great latent of enhancing the communication.

Today, GSM phones beep in almost every palm, pocket, handbags, offices, parties, school hostels, beer parlors, every nook and cranny of the country.

Aside the availability of telephony, the revolution also ended the monopoly enjoyed by Nitel and introduced competition by the various operators.

Quality of service has not however kept pace with the burgeoning development in the telecom industry. It is much worse now than seven years ago when the revolution began.

There are still complaints of bills for undelivered messages, charge for dropped calls , which increase the revenues operators but leave deep holes in the pockets of subscribers

Equally, they complained that Internet service remained a challenge, just as much as uploading and downloading.

As a matter of fact, all the telecom operators exhibit grave deficiencies in their service delivery from small to dominant operators.

Deolu Ogunbanjo, president, National Association Telecommunications Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMMS), blamed poor quality of service on inadequate base stations in the country.

Ogunbanjo said that United Kingdom with population less than Nigeria has over 60, 000 base stations while base stations in Nigeria is still under 30,000.

He added that issues around ‘Right of Way’ approvals and closure of base stations by state government agencies have also impacted negatively on the quality of service being delivered by telecommunications operators.

“There is need for more stakeholders’ engagement between Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), telecommunications operators and state governments to resolve socio-economic factors that are frustrating operators in deploying infrastructure for improved quality of service.

“Operators need to build more base stations to improve capacity of their network with digital radio equipment,” Ogunbanjo said.

In clear terms, operators lack capacity to meet the demand of subscribers and they have no apologies for that.

Operators blame high cost of doing business, rising insecurity and widespread cases of theft of their vital equipment and so on for worsening quality of service.

They also point at forced relocation of hundreds of kilometers of fibre optic cables as a result of road works as well as difficult access to sites and community relations troubles.

Myke Offili, general manager commercial, Coloplus, telecommunications collocation services provider, agreed that network congestion is responsible for the poor telecommunications services been experienced by subscribers as pressure is on the network at the same time.

He stressed the need for operators to expand their network through making available additional spectrum to them in line with ATCON position.

He urged government to address the high cost of deploying network infrastructure as well intensify effort in educating the public on the impact of technology contrary to on-going misinformation about certain technology at the market place.

Elsewhere, Oladipo Raji, group managing director, InfraFocus Technologies, attributed the poor network services to congestion of the network as a lot of people are accessing the network at the same time.

“This means that we don’t have adequate capacity on the network. Everywhere in the world there are always two networks mobile and fixed networks delivering mobile and fixed data services, but in Nigeria we have put the two networks together and into one operator through universal licensing regime where GSM operators delver mobile and fixed data from one network hence the congestion.

“If we had encouraged ISPs to deliver fixed data at home and offices while GSM operators deliver mobile data we would not have been in this situation. It is time for NCC to correct this mistake and segregate the market by licensing ISPs to deliver internet to homes and offices by this, jobs will be created as well,” he said.