The following is a release of several telecommunications network operators (AIRTEL, ETISALAT, GLOBACOM AND MTN) on fines imposed recently by the Nigerian Communications Commission relating to network quality. This is a public statement by the operators and does not represent the position of Nigeriacomputers.com.
A STATEMENT ON THE FINES IMPOSED ON AIRTEL, ETISALAT, GLOBACOM AND MTN BY THE NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION RELATING TO NETWORK QUALITY
Airtel, Etisalat, Globacom and MTN would like to jointly issue a statement concerning the decision by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to sanction all four operators for failure to meet Quality of Service standards.
We would like to assure customers of all four networks that we are committed to providing high quality of service to our customers. Over the last ten years more than N1 trillion has been invested in building and enhancing the four mobile networks. In 2012 alone, the four operators will be spending over N400 billion of further investments in their networks. All four operators are actively competing with each other on quality of service to win the loyalty of existing customers and attract new customers.
We are all equally frustrated and concerned about the failure to meet customer expectations and needs with respect to the quality of service. Nigeria deserves and needs first class telecommunications networks. We thus apologise unreservedly to you, our customers, for those occasions when you have been disappointed or inconvenienced by a lapse or failure to deliver the requisite level of quality of service. We however believe that it is necessary to explain the major challenges we face as operators and ask for your understanding and support.
The main factor affecting quality of service is the absence of a reliable source of power. Every single site is powered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by two diesel Generators and requires regular supply of diesel as well as 24 hours security protection. We need to recognise that benchmarking quality of service against countries which are not operating in such an environment is unrealistic.
The second major factor affecting network quality are the frequent cuts of fibre networks which link the cell sites. These are frequently malicious in nature. Recently, operators have asked that Telecommunications Infrastructure be declared “Critical National Infrastructure” which would result in enhanced protection for these assets and criminalize the wilful damage of same.
Another equally worrying development is the recent trend towards indiscriminate closure of sites by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal, State and Local Governments in pursuit of multiple taxation of telecommunications infrastructure.
Finally, the issue of security is a prevalent threat from our operating environment. We have had particularly unfortunate instances where our employees have physically assaulted and in some instances killed during site maintenance visits, all in a quest to sustain service quality.
We wish to use this medium to call on the NCC, the National Environment Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, the Minister of Communication Technology, the National Assembly and the Office of the National Security Adviser to work in harmony to put in place an environment in which we can continue our substantial investments in pursuit of delivering world class telecommunications networks.
While we continue to make these investments which will also improve service quality, it needs to be pointed out that in the telecommunications industry, such investments do not yield the requisite improvement in service quality until well after 12 months. We are therefore concerned that fines will not bring about the desired service quality improvements or offer a lasting solution but will merely deplete essential resources that would otherwise be deployed for network roll out.
Also, due to the capital-intensive nature of our operations, we are concerned that a regime of sanctions will inevitably erode the confidence of financial institutions and critical partners in industry. We are also concerned that it could create an atmosphere of anxiety and regulatory uncertainty which is unattractive to investment. We are therefore actively engaging with our Regulator to resolve this issue.
Solutions being explored include ensuring a forward-looking quality of service framework, taking into account pertinent environmental factors affecting service delivery and preserving the capacity of the industry to attract the requisite levels of investment in infrastructure to meet stakeholder expectations.
Nigeria deserves and needs world class telecommunications networks. No sector in Nigeria has seen more progress than the telecommunications sector. We ask for the understanding of all stakehoders as we continue to invest and build the networks to the benefit of all Nigerians.
Signed; Airtel, Etisalat, Glo and MTN