30th May, 2011
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed telecommunications operators in the country to take immediate measures to improve the quality of service, including stoppage of promotions where the capacity is limited or face sanction.
Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, handed this warning while expressing worry over the inability of the operators to meet with some of the key performance indicators for ameliorating the challenge of quality of service.
At a meeting with GSM operators at the commissionâ€™s office in Abuja at the weekend, the NCC boss said the monthly data capture and analysis has shown that the network congestion has continued to increase.
â€œOn most of the networks, there are too many drop calls, poor network availability, poor service accessibility and poor voice quality, while one-way or two-way lack of audio in several connections abound,â€ he said.
He said the analysis showed that several Base Station Controllers (BSCs) are congested in terms of Radio Traffic Channels (RTCH) and Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channels (SDCCH).
Another official said where operators are expected to keep these indices below 0.1 per cent, the figure stood at 2.5 per cent in March this year, suggesting a very worrisome trend.
The commission said it had also discovered the presence of â€œmany weak and dead signal zones in major cities through our QoS Drive Test monitoring exercise, which is attributable to lack of network optimisation and improper radio network planning.â€
Among the interim measures directed by the commission to arrest the trend include the need to suspend the use of Bulk Short Messaging Service (SMS) for all kinds of campaigns and suspension of all promotions, except where adequate capacity were provided on the network to carry the volume of traffic generated from such activity.
He also said that the commission would, henceforth, revisit the issue of network rollout obligations when necessary, but would also meet with Chief Technical Officers (CTOs) and network managers of the operators regularly to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to address the issues.
â€œWe urge all the service providers to, in addition to their current efforts, embark on massive capacity improvement, especially in the radio access networks, in order to reduce the current network congestion, while optimising their existing network infrastructure,â€ he said.
The representatives of the operators, who spoke in turns, blamed part of the problems on governments at the local and state levels, as well as individuals who use jammers to dislocate services.
They said in some cases, state governments make it impossible for roll-out and expansion of services due to excessive taxation and impossible conditions.
ByÂ Henry Ojelu