The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria recorded a total of 9,077 cases of service outages on their networks in the second quarter of 2020, resultingindisruptions to their network quality of service (QoS) delivery and intermittent quality of experience (QoE) by their consumers.
The figure was shared by Mr. AdelekeAdewolu, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM) of the NCCin a presentation he delivered during the first Virtual Telecoms Consumer Parliament (VTCP) the Commission hosted in Abuja.
Adeleke said 3,585 of the 9,077 service outages recorded by the operators were caused by incidences of denial of access to telecoms sites for maintenance; 4,972 were triggered by incidences of fibre cuts from construction activities and vandalism while 520 cases were as a result of incidences of generator and battery theft at sites.
He said the Commission took a swift proactive step to mitigate the unforeseen challenges that may cause serious disruptions in service delivery to the consumers throughout the period of the COVID-19 pandemic by approving resource sharing by operators throughout the period of COVID-19 pandemic, including fibre optic cables and other resources in the event of cable cuts and other unforeseen developments.
The NCC, he said, also ensured that the service providers meet the needs of their teeming consumers by securing Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecommunications officials and staff for easy movement during the lockdown to ensure ease of movement to service base stations and other telecom facilities and equipment.
The ECSM called on all stakeholders to join hands with the Commission in enlightening all citizens on the need to protect the telecom infrastructure in their domain without which quality of service delivery will be hampered.
Charging operators on the need to increase and improve their network capacity, he noted that the numerous complaints were received from consumers by the Commission during the outbreak of the pandemic which was indicative of the widening gap between the consumer QoS and the QoE provided by the service providers, and which, according to him, needed to be addressed.
Adeleke also charged service providers to embark on continuous consumer education and enlightenment campaign about data usage and billing to ensure their subscribers have all the required information to make informed decisions so as get value for money spent. Operators, he added, also need to train and equip their customer care personnel on consumer complaint management as well as ensuring that consumer complaints are resolved conclusively and in line with the revised Service Level Agreement (SLA).
He warned service providers to desist from indulging in unwholesome practices such as modification of data plan without informing consumers; putting out promotional advertorials without prior approval by the Commission; changing the names and nomenclature of promotions from what was approved, among others to short-change the consumers, warning that the Commission will not hesitate to sanction operators found guilty of these.
The ECSM stated that the Consumer Code of Practice requires that once a contract agreement is signed, both parties should adhere to the contract terms and conditions and where a change is required, the validity period should end before effecting any modification.