By Adekunle Adekoya
I must apologize to readers of this column for its prolonged absence; it was due to assignments outside. However, I thank everyone for keeping faith with the Vanguard brand, the number one news brand online in Nigeria, and the best read hard copy newspaper. For confirmation of this, visit alexa.com, the internet rating portal.
Surprise from du
In the United Arab Emirates where I was on assignment, I got a surprise. Last year when I was there for the International Telecommunications Union, ITU summit, I bought an Etisalat SIM card which I used while there to communicate both locally, and with family and colleagues in Nigeria. Getting back there September, the SIM was no longer provisioned. Absent-mindedly I switched on my other handset which had a Glo SIM in it, and in minutes, a message came in from a telecoms firm by the name, du. Although Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company is its legal name, it was commercially rebranded du in February 2006.
The message said: “Dear Globacom subscriber, welcome to the UAE and…..” The message from du ended my worries about connecting with home while in the UAE. Though the charges were steep, it was convenient, and at the same time, messages from home were getting to me. It made my stay more bearable, what with outside temperatures in excess of 40 degrees!
Poor QoS, still
Back home, the realities of living here reasserted themselves. At the airport, after disembarking and clearing passport control and baggage claim, it was another major effort connecting those in charge of transport to take me out of the airport. Calls to the line of the driver kept issuing the refrain that the number is unreachable. That made me spend more than two hours in the airport after arrival.
The pity is that the situation has not really improved, as signals go off the handset in the same fashion as public power goes off. What do we all do now, especially after the regulator has sanctioned operators for poor QoS, imposed fines, and instituted number portability?
Cables, civil works
There is a lot of road works going on nationwide. In several parts of Lagos, drainage works are also on-going. This involves a lot of excavations. What I find appalling is that a lot of cables already laid as the telcos push ahead with their broadband plan are being ripped out of the ground, with scant regard for its implications. In many instances, the cables are not re-laid.
Who bears the cost of re-laying the cables? Will right of way already paid for subsist as the cables are being re-laid? In some parts of Alimosho in Lagos where massive drainage works are on-going, it is not only cables that are affected, pipelines have also been ruptured, and major disasters averted providentially. Is it not possible to co-ordinate things properly so that we do not march two steps forward and four backwards when civil works have to be executed?
I got a notice, I am sure, like many others that I will have to pay more for the bouquet I subscribe to with a pay TV operator. While pondering that, it came also in the news that the pay TV operator has slashed charges for another of its products. I rued the situation and came up with only one thought: Peter is being robbed to pay Paul. No problem anyway; here we have always been our brothers’ keepers. Otherwise, many of today’s success stories would never have made it outside the extended family system.