By Emmanuel Elebeke
THE Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta is miffed that subscribers are fleeced by the operators in terms of the quality of data services on offer, demanding that more value should be given for money spent on data.
He also expressed the commission’s disgust at the snail speed of internet services and also urged both the operators and the internet service providers to invest more on infrastructure to ensure improvement in what is currently available.
Danbatta who spoke in an interview with one of the nation’s television networks, promised that government would look for a way of assisting network providers to ensure adequate infrastructure that would aid robust internet and improve data services. He said, “Data is becoming a major issue and infrastructure for data is a major headache in Nigeria. To ensure that we enjoy what we pay for, there is need for more infrastructure deployment.
“The statistics we have supports the claim that voice subscription has dropped to 148m (10%). But the data subscription is going up. One will expect the telecom companies to make more money from mobile voice services and SMS. But consumers are very clever, migrating from high tariff and poor voice services and SMS to data services.
“Unfortunately, the data services enable subscribers enjoy voice services like Whatsapp and so on. We are in a situation where we need value for money. There is an argument that with the infrastructure, the telcos will invest more here but what is happening in the social media space indicate that we need more infrastructure to optimize data services. We are concerned that until something is done by providing more infrastructure capacity, the data services will encounter more problems.”
On quality of internet service, he said the current poor quality of internet services was unacceptable and lamented the challenges the telcos are contending with. “I am not satisfied with the speed of internet experienced today. The speed in the national broadband says 1.5 mega Hz per second. In places like Lagos, you may get higher speed, Kano you hardly get 500 kbits, which is too small. The disadvantage of having very slow speed of internet is that you can’t do so many things. Like I said, although we are contending with a lot of network challenges, the network operators should give value for money,” he added.