Vox-Pop: Subscribers fault telecom networks for poor service

By Azeez Disu

It’s been more than 15 years since Nigeria joined the global super highway of telecommunication, following the roll-out of MTN services 2001. Since then, a lot of progress has been made in the area of infrastructure, network coverage and general telecommunications services.

Nigeria has also been rated as one of the most important mobile and internet market in the world with a soaring mobile subscription that is put at about 100 million and internet penetration of 94 million according to Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) third quarter report of 2016.

But despite this advancement, there is still a lot to be desired about the quality of services delivered by the telecom service providers in the country compared with more advanced telecom markets.

According to an opinion poll conducted recently, MARKETING EDGE gathered that subscribers are disheartened with the service they get from the telecom companies. They stated that poor service delivery, unsolicited messages, slow internet service and other issues remain a challenge confronting the sector.

Kehinde Adekunjo, a CEO of a Marketing Communications firm in Ogun State revealed that he had to buy two mobile lines to be able to connect with his business partners, family and friends. He practically switches between the two lines.

“I have always been having network issues, when people call or I make a call I will not get the massage yet the network would have charged me. Also, browsing on the network at times is a bitter experience, as you may need to subscribe on two networks; one for home another for the office. Likewise calls, you may need to recharge two lines, such that if one fails, you switch to the other” he said.

S.T. Kuti-George, Chairman, National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Lagos Chapter revealed that slow internet services, unsolicited messages and subscription to certain services without owner’s consent are issues subscribers are confronted with.

In his words: “They can be good sometimes but have rampant network failure; slow internet services; unsolicited messages; subscription to certain services without owner’s consent, and so on.”

Sanmi Lawason, an Engineer stated that “For Glo, they have cheap internet bundles but very slow so you don’t normally get value for your money. But generally they have cheap call rates. Etisalat has good coverage and good network performance. Calls are generally expensive on Airtel. MTN are just there”

Peter Bassey, a graduate of Business Administration lamented that when he borrows airtime from any of his four lines on his two phones, he realized that his call credit finishes very fast.

“I have four SIM lines on my two phones, when I borrow credit from any of the four, MTN, Airtel, Etisalat and Glo, that I use. For example, when I buy N200 airtime, I don’t make up to three minutes call before the credit is extorted” he said.

Juliet Okoro, a University Student said “Glo deducted my credit for no reason and when I called the customer care, all they did was to apologize and they didn’t refund it. Etisalat charged me for codes I don’t activate but when I called and shouted continuously they refund it. MTN is just there”

Yetunde Olukotun, an entrepreneur explained her own ordeal: “My own challenge is with Airtel network. Their call tariff is appalling. As if they are paying their staff from a call made by an individual. When we talk of data bundle Glo is the best”

Amina Muhammad, a teacher urged the telcos to urgently address the challenges customers are facing.

“Telecom companies in Nigeria still have a long way to go in effectively satisfying the customers. Take data/internet subscription as an example. Most of them are very slow. The call tariffs are high, network in connecting calls usually poor.

“Nigerian Telecom has come of age were issues like this should be of the past. All in all, one can’t overemphasize that the Nigeria system is not helping either. For example, poor power supply and continuous theft of telecom equipment which hampers provision of their service.” She said.

Recall that NCC disclosed that the telecom firms in the country may pay over N16 billion in fines annually to subscribers as compensation for sending unsolicited SMS or calls to them.

NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta at the World Consumer Right Day (WCRD) 2017 urged subscribers to send message to a short code ‘622’ or call if they keep receiving unsolicited SMS or calls.

“If the messages keep coming into your phone, send a message of complaint to NCC to a short code ‘622’ short code across the 744 local government areas of the country”

He added that “The commission will assess the outcome of the campaign to know the necessary steps to take if the campaign is completed.”

The commission revealed that Nigerian telecom consumers spent a whopping $5.6 billion on telecom services in 2015. The figure increased in 2016 by $1 billion to $6.6 billion.


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