5G,  5G rollout: NCC gives final approval to MTN, Mafab

•Telcos threaten to punish states known for damaging facilities

By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor & Juliet Umeh

The general knowledge on the street is that 5G will make the telecommunication a lot easier in terms of connections, data management social interactions. But, it appears that is not totally going to be the case as telcos are expressing frustration with the way and manner their facilities are being shut down, vandalised and destroyed.

The regulator, Nigerian communications Commission, NCC also alluded to the operators complaint, providing even statistic showing that services have been a bit poor due to incessant vandalisation and destruction of telecom facilities.

In fact, the Commission said that over 50,000 telecom facilities have been damaged in just five years, leading to several dropped and incomplete calls.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Engr Gbenga Adebayo, whose association is the umbrella body of all telecom operators in Nigeria, said the situation is becoming unbearable that the telcos are not able to guarantee much of quality services no matter what innovation is being introduced into the sector.

Adebayo said: “The destruction of our facilities has continued unabated to unacceptable level that we can no longer guarantee quality of service, particularly on those places where it is more prevalent.

“for instance, in Kaduna, the government road contractors there are damaging our facilities with impunity and if that continues, we will develop a service strategy which will not also be favourable to them. I hope the federal and state governments will call their contractors to order and see to the reinstatement of the damaged facilities. The implication which we are not happy to announce is that our service strategies in most of these areas where our facilities are damaged may also affect nearby and adjoining areas and states negatively” he added.

For NCC, over 50,000 cases of major destruction to telecom infrastructure and facilities have been reported across the country in the past five years, and the implications of these incidents to the quality of telecommunication services in Nigeria would be adversely telling.

Head, Corporate Communications Unit of the Commission, Mrs. Nnena Ukoha, who represented her Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, at the 2022 edition of Youth Civil Society and Stakeholders Summit, YCSSS, in Abuja recently, disclosed that the reported 50,000 damaged facilities are evidenced in fibre cuts, theft of telecom facilities like generators at sites, vandalism of base stations, among other vices, which have become a major burden on the service providers.

Ukoha said: “The impact of vandalism of infrastructure is felt by all in the quality of services rendered as it results in increasing drop calls, data and Internet connectivity disruptions, aborted and undelivered short messaging services (SMS), as well as countless failed calls”.

In the latest statistics from the NCC website, as at the April 2022, although all the telcos except 9mobile met the QoS threshold of 98 percent, all of them, however, lost revenues due to dropped calls.

MTN had a 0.29 percent dropped call, Airtel, 0.41 percent dropped call, Globacom, 0.39 percent while 9mobile had  0.59 dropped call percentage.

NCC said Dropped Call Rate, DCR is derived from the number of dropped calls divided by the total number of call attempts. A dropped call is a call that is prematurely terminated before being released normally by either the caller or called party

In the same vein, the operators’ Call Setup Success Rate (CSSR), even though at threshold level were not 100 percent as expected of telcos who have spent decades and fortunes in investment to provide infrastructure.

The Call Setup Success Rate (CSSR) is calculated by taking the number of the unblocked call attempts divided by the total number of call attempts. A call setup is an exchange of signalling information in the call process that leads to Traffic Channel (TCH) seizure.

The statistics, provided the call success rate for   9mobile at 97.5 percent, Airtel 99.18, Globacom, 98.37 and MTN 99.73.

Performance Threshold, according to NCC  should be equal to or greater than 98 percent, at least.

The NCC advised that members who telecom facilities are deployed in their communities and states have the duty of informing the nearest law enforcement agencies such as the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, cases of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure and also share adequate information received from NCC with their families, friends, and neighbours. 

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