Imposition of sanctions on global system for mobile communications operators has been described as a negative step that would not solve the problem of low quality of service delivered to subscribers.
Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, who stated this in an interview, added that sanctions and fines will neither eliminate quality of service issues nor improve it.
He said that there is no service provider that would be happy to deliver poor quality of service, affirming that the situation in the country does not call for sanctions, as they pose hindrances to expansion of the networks that would eventually lead to enhanced quality service.
He disclosed that sanctions imposed on telecom operators in the past were considered not appropriate, as the parameters used for determining them were contested, adding that it was agreed by stakeholders, the Nigerian Communications Commission and operators on what should be the fair and acceptable parameters for determining quality of service.
“If you penalise, it seems as if they could have done better in that circumstance, but that does not recognise the issues and the factors that lead to poor quality of service. But if again we consider those penalties and fines as inappropriate, then the law court is an option to be looked at,” he said.
“there is no service provider that would be happy to deliver poor quality of service”
Adebayo explained that to cover the country effectively does not mean to license more operators, but that there is the need to remove the barrier to access, because if those elements are not removed, the issue of quality of service will continue.
Listing challenges of multiple regulations, multiple taxation, and denial of access to existing infrastructure, difficulty in procurement of right of way, security of existing infrastructure, making expansion difficult and hostility on the part of host communities, as problems that constitute barrier to access and deployment, the ALTON boss said, “Until those elements are completely eliminated, it would be difficult for new or existing operators to effectively cover what is uncovered. So one would say that beyond the issues of trying to license more operators, government and the regulator should focus more on eliminating the barriers to access today, and then one can say existing and new operators would be able to meet subscribers’ demand and increase capacity.”
He further stated that there is a particular state in the South-East of Nigeria where government introduced what is called ‘business premises levy’, and by that act, it classified all offices and telecom sites, located on the green field outside the city, as business premises.
“They started closing telecom sites and in some cases shut down a hub site that provide interconnection with other cell sites in six neighbouring states.
“This is an act of government in one state and this is part of the problems we are talking about. Definitely, no operator should be penalised under such circumstance for poor quality of service,” he explained.