By MARTIN EKPEKE
The executive vice chairman of the Nigerian communications commission (NCC) Dr. Eugene Juwah recently met with the CEO of operating telecommunication companies in the country, the first since he assumed office two months ago. The meeting was held in Lagos which is the home of most of the operators so as to achieve maximum representation.
The issue is Quality of Service, QoS, which he considered a matter of urgent national importance was top of the issues discussed during the meeting. He stated that the issue of quality of service was recurring decimal in the industry so during his screening at the senate, he gave his word to the government that he is going to resolve it.
The Quality of Service (QoS) of Telecommunications services especially of Wireless Telecommunication Networks is deteriorating nationwide and the Commission under my administration is committed to tackle the issue seriously, Said Juwah. He also refer to Section 104 of the Communications Act 2003 which stated that all service providers shall, in respect of their specific services meet such minimum standards of quality of service as the Commission may from time to time specify and publish.
He went on to list measure the Commission will undertake in order to rescue the deteriorating QoS nationwide which will be gazette and fully enforced. The Commission has formed a Task Force Committee on QoS that was given a mandate to ensure among others improvement of nationwide QoS within a short time frame.
The QoS committee will on monthly basis be visiting operators NOC / NMC when necessary to capture and analyze QoS data for analysis and reporting the status of QoS. In addition to the Operator’s NOC’s in Lagos the regional NMC’s will also be visited for QoS data capture for analysis in order to verify the regional QoS. The Task Force Committee will also commence meeting with the CTOs of the operating companies with a view to addressing technical issues on QoS.
The NCC boss also stated that the Commission will also be calling emergency meetings with the operators as the need arises, in order to fast track improvements in the QoS especially in the areas where the QoS situation is worst. The Commission will monitor and capture data at the Point of Interconnections (POI) which includes Route congestion, POI Utilization, Answer seizure ratio (ASR) and Link Failures.
In a bid to satisfy the average subscriber, Juwah reiterated the Commission desires in encouraging more entry into the market which will allow consumers to have choices and also benefit from the advantages of competition. And in turn bring affordability of the network to the consumers. “The Commission had determined new set of interconnect rates late last year which has resulted in marginal reduction in some tariff packages. But surprisingly, tariffs for Short Messaging Services, SMS, are still high in the networks. I want to invite the CEOs to really address the issue of SMS because it also provides opportunity for decongesting the networks”. Said Juwah
SIM Card Registration was another issue discussed which Dr. Juwah said is a major plan of the government being implemented by the Commission. He opines that the commission is dedicated to implementing the project to its logical conclusion, and has recently embarked on an awareness campaign in the media to support the registration of new subscribers by the service providers as originally agreed.
He also stated that the draft regulation is in place for consultation with the service providers and hope to pursue it vigorously to achieve the benefits of SIM registration in a nation like ours. The commission is also not unaware of the divergent views about the implementation processes of the programme but will make conscious efforts to ensure that all views are taken into consideration as we make progress.