Thursday , December 9 2021

Drop calls to persist unless govt creates enabling environment – ATCON



The Association of Telecommunications company of Nigeria (ATCON) has debunked claims that the incessant drop calls experienced by subscribers in the country are solely the operators’ fault.

Dropped-call rate is the fraction of the telephone calls which, due to technical reasons, were cut off before the speaking parties had finished their conversational tone and before one of them had hung up (dropped calls).

According to the group, the situation would persist unless the government creates an enabling environment for the telecom sectors.

It further noted that the 2% drop call standard set by the regulator in line with the (International Telecommunications Union) ITU standard is not realistic in Nigerian environments. This fraction is usually measured as a percentage of all calls.

As a regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been empowered to establish minimum Quality of Service (QoS) standards in service delivery for the telecommunications industry.

These QoS standards ensure that consumers continue to have access to high quality telecommunications service by setting basic minimum quality levels for all operators.

As a result, NCC sets a two percent (2%) call drop rate as the limit that telecommunications companies must work towards as part of the condition they must meet in the new Key Performance Indicators (KPI) guidelines on Quality of Service (QoS).

However, according to Quality of Service (QoS) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on data collected from the Network Operating Centres (NOCs) of the nation’s major mobile network operators (MNO) revealed that for the past 15 months with 0.45% and 0.59% as against the 2% Benchmark minimum standard sets by the regulator.

Needless to say, the results have devastating effects on consumers seamless communications experience.
In July, Business Remarks gathered that the senate had summoned and advised the regulator to ensure strict supervision of telecoms service providers for effective service delivery.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Sen. Buhari Abdulfatai (APC-Oyo) and 34 others on increasing rate of drop calls and other unwholesome practices by telecoms operators at plenary in Abuja.

While expressing their reservations over the inefficient service delivery by GSM network providers in the country, he urged regulatory agencies to invoke appropriate provisions of the law to protect consumers where necessary and ask for refund them for disrupted calls caused by bad network.

The Senate also urged them to carry out through investigation on causes of drop calls and come up with innovations that would help improve customers’ experience.

Speaking on the motion, Abdulfatai said Nigerians are experiencing a disturbing and yet increasing rate of dropped calls.

He said telecoms customers are encountering in-comprehensive speech and voice quality that is unclear during phone conversations.

He said subscribers do not have the power to control bundle usage, nor have choice to restrict browsing to the resources which they were allocated resulting in sudden and unexplained expiry of data bundle.

He said GSM operators in Nigeria had recently been experiencing terrible congestion on their networks, thus denying subscribers benefit of getting value for their resources.

Abdulfatai decried the fact that no effort had been made to enhance the experience of telecoms customers and has such lamented that in spite of warnings by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the unpleasant activities of drop calls, meant to defraud Nigerians, no serious sanctions had been taken against any operator.

While measures taken by the commission to rectify this remain unknown, ATCON President, Olusola Teniola said that the actual figures attained against the expected figures set by NCC and based on ITU QoS thresholds apply to environments with underlying assumptions not experienced in Nigeria.

“As such, they are unrealistic as far as the manner and ways networks are built, maintained and supported in Nigeria”, he said.

Teniola highlighted that the number of base stations deployed in Nigeria is way below expectations for a country with a subscriber base of 170 million.

“The networks at best during busy-call hours are congested and at best require much more investments in the increasing capacity and coverage to reduce the number of dropped calls and failures.

“Simply, put FDI has dropped over the period stated and this is the major cause of the poor quality of service”, he said.

Teniola maintained that the situation is very unlikely to change unless government creates and sustains an enabling environment for these investments to come.

“No amount of threats and punitive charges will reverse this and infact will lead to further reduction in QoS.

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He added that the industry faces infrastructure destruction and this contributes also to the level of QoS rendered to the consumers.

“Fiber cuts are still occurring on a daily basis and this needs to addressed by the security forces and police with immediate effect”, Teniola explained to Business Remarks.

Reacting to this, the NCC spokeperson, Dr Henry Nkamadu told Business Remarks that the regulator has always taken steps to ensure an acceptable quality of seamless communications experience for the consumers.

“The regulator will remain focused in ensuring that using all in our regulatory toolkits for consumer satisfaction”, he noted.


About Bukola Olanrewaju

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