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Mobile Technology

“Like The Prodigal Son, I’ve Returned …”

HoPI borrowed the title of this post from the song “Jump Around”, a 1992 smash hit from the musical group – House of Pain. The phrase aptly describes my porting sojourn from Glo to MTN and back to Glo.

You may read up my post on my initial experience porting from Glo to MTN here. It is a must read.

My experiences has taught me one important fact, that the grass is definitely not greener on the other side. For sure, no single Nigerian mobile network can be said to be overwhelmingly better than the other. It is probably no secret that the services rendered by all these companies can be described as subpar at best and largely inconsistent. Quality of service vary widely across geographic locations.

Really no point jumping around these networks. What works for your friend in Gbagada may be a terrible experience for you in Ajah. Fact.

Perhaps, your choice of a service provider should be dependent only on the Service quality in your neighbourhood. No point having tons of free data for a network that you can only browse on 2G speeds or free voice bonus from a network that you struggle to get a bar of signal.

For now, i am back to Glo, only because it has the best service quality in my neighbourhood and, well, provide cheaper data service than the competition.

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Gadgets

Regulator begins service quality probe of ‘Big Three’ GSM operators

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced fresh service quality verification tests offered by the three biggest GSM operators in the country amid the expiration of the November 30 deadline for them to improve service quality or risk a sales ban.

Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Tony Ojobo confirmed the commencement of the quality of service (QoS) tests in an interview with Technology Times at the weekend saying that fresh tests promised by the telecoms regulator have been set in motion and are currently underway across sample locations across the country.

Ojobo did not give further details of the QoS tests being conducted officials of the telecoms regulatory agency to crosscheck that key performance indicators (KPIs) mandated by NCC have been met at the expiration of the November 30 deadline to the affected operators.

Hitherto, NCC directed the Big 3 players, MTN, Glo Mobile and Airtel that control over 90 per cent market share, to meet some defined KPIs or risk being banned from selling new SIM cards, a development that will prevent them from adding new subscribers.

The regulator says its intention to impose the sales ban arose from overwhelming complaints by subscribers over flagging network quality by the affected operators.

Following the expiration of the deadline, officials of NCC have now swung into action to conduct detailed tests hoped to gather information about the prevailing state of network operation and allied service quality determinants, says the NCC’s spokesman.

NCC did not offer hints about the coverage areas for the test nor the time frame but promised that the result should be ready before the end of this month. The outcome will also inform further steps that will be taken on the intention to bar any of the erring three GSM operators from adding new lines, Ojobo adds

Industry insiders have ruled out the possibility of any of the affected networks being able to meet the strict condition on service quality by the deadline stipulated by NCC, a development that may have seen them brace up for the regulatory hammer.

“NCC is committed to the enforcement of the intention earlier communicated to the affected operators but this will be done in a scientific and empirical manner”, Ojobo had told Technology Times in a previous interview.

NCC’s stance comes in the wake of a 30-day ultimatum that the three operators improve poor quality of service offered their subscribers across the country or face the full wrath of the telecoms regulatory agency.

The threat followed result of the dismal performance by the three operators on quality of service following the outcome of an independent nationwide monitoring exercise carried out by NCC, says the regulator.

The result of the exercise revealed that trio failed to level up with four key performance indicators (KPI) laid down by NCC to improve the quality of service rendered, the regulator says underscoring that unless they attain the defined levels of service quality by November 1, 2011, they will be barred from further sale of SIM cards to add new subscribers.

A number of monetary penalties will also be imposed on operators that contravene the provisions of the directive that include a fine of N1million per new SIM card sold or additional subscriber added to the network when the sanction goes into effect.

Further defaults will also attract a penalty of N5 million per subscriber added plus N500, 000 per day that the operator contravenes the directive. This is in addition to a N500, 000 fines for every month of contravention, according to NCC.

NCC hopes to invoke provisions of the Nigerian Communications Commission Quality of Service Regulations 2011 stipulating the powers of the telecoms regulator to intervene in ensuring that operators provide efficient and effective services to their subscribers.

The regulation identifies minimum quality of service (QoS) and related measurement, reporting and recording keeping task while also saddling telecoms operators with various responsibilities to their subscriber.

According to its provisions, the Regulation seeks to protect and promote the interest of consumers against unfair practices including tariffs and charges, availability and quality of communications services, equipment and facilities, among others.

Importantly, the NCC Regulation also seeks to improve service quality by spotting service deficiencies and encouraging, enforcing and requiring appropriate changes.

Along this line, it equally seeks to maintain service quality while recognizing environmental and operating conditions and promote making information available to help with informed customer choice of services and licensees.

While also seeking to improve the operation and performance of interconnected networks, among its other objectives, the Regulation stipulates that reporting periods during which measurements are taken and recorded shall typically begin from the first day of each month to the last day of the month or “as the Commission may from time to time determine.”

The Regulation empowers the telecoms watchdog to carry out network measurement test and obtain data through drive test, Mobile Base Station Probe tests, Consumer Survey, data collection from operators or NCC Network Operating Centres (NOCs)/Network Management Centres (NMCs), among others.

“The Commission’s NOC/NMC may rely on real-time data acquired from feeds. KPI Measurements may be carried out at all network segments including at BTS, Cell, BSC or MSc levels”, says the Regulation.

 

Source : technologytimesng.com

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Gadgets

Poor Service Quality – Why NCC Got it Wrong

Recently, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a public statement warned MTN, Globacom and Airtel that it would stop them from selling Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards by the end of this month if they fail to improve the quality of service (QoS) on their mobile networks.

The telecommunications regulator who issued the operators a 30-day ultimatum with effect from November 1, 2011, went further by saying that any new SIM card sold, or additional subscriber added to the network in contravention of the direction, would attract a penalty of N1,000,000 ( one million naira) per subscriber added.

The Commission indicated that after the expiration of the 30-day deadline, it would strictly enforce the impending directive which contravention will attract a penalty of N5,000,000 ( Five Million Naira), and additional N500,000( Five Hundred Thousand Naira) per day that such contravention persists. In addition to the above, failure of any of the operators to meet the quality of service targets from November 30, 2011 would attract a fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) for every month of failure.

According to Mr. Reuben Mouka, Head, Media and Public Relations, NCC, this deadline follows a dismal performance by the three operators on quality of service from the result of an independent monitoring exercise carried out by the Commission across the country which showed that all the three operators failed to meet with four key performance indicators (KPIs) that are crucial for quality of service improvements as set by the Commission.

“It is not in doubt that the customer experience on your network has been far from satisfactory, especially as the Commission has been inundated with complaints from various subscribers on this matter”, it said in the correspondence to the three respective operators in which it expressed concerns that the operators were not doing enough to reverse the trend of unacceptable quality of service which had persisted for too long.

KPIs

The Key Performance indicators measured by the Commission included Call Set Up Success Rate, Call Completion Rate, Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channel and Handover Success Rate.

Since the advent of the telecom boom especially, global service for mobile communications (GSM) in the country, Nigerians have come to associate poor quality of system as part of the price they have to pay for inadequate telecommunications infrastructure.
Industry analysts acknowledge that it’s no longer news that at times a subscriber may have to dial more than five times before connecting a call. That call may at times be affected by what is called noise in communications parlance, that is, the caller may experience some conflicting sounds from another line or his/her call is inaudible.

Also, the caller may as well not be able to complete that call and may have to repeat the call several times just to pass his/her message across to the receiver. Nigerian subscribers have at times put a call across and someone else unknown to them picks the call only for them to redial the same number and it will go to the right person they are trying to reach.

Ban On Sales Promotions

It is common knowledge that since the Nigerian telecom regulator lifted the ban on sales promotions by mobile service providers; the quality of service has worsened. Early this year the mobile operators lobbied the regulator to allow them conduct promos aimed at celebrating 10 years of telecom revolution in Nigeria.

The NCC said no, urging the operators to improve their telecom networks before such request could be granted. Now, sales promos in various guises such as SIM Registration promos, free credit promos, 10-year anniversary promos, etc are in full swing and the congestions on the networks are back.

More Network Investments

Mr Gbenga Adebayo, president, Association of Licenced Telecom Operators of Nigeria, Alton, said the telecom market needs investments to build a network that is resilient. Nigeria currently has less than 20,000 base stations, while a city like London has more than 50, 000 base stations. The operators need to spend more on building cell sites, building data centres and transmission backbone.

The NCC has the responsibility of protecting the Nigerian telecom subscriber, ensuring that top quality services are rendered. After all, it is the subscriber that pays the bill of the operators. It behoves on the NCC to look no further and identify the cause of poor quality of service and put an end to the suffering telecom subscribers go through currently.

Source : allafrica.com

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Gadgets

I Have a Dream …

The impending Mobile number portability in the Nigerian GSM sector has been welcomed with applause and expectations. This is with the assumption that the industry would become very much competitive, barring any form of cartel formation, that is, if it is not in existence already.

Number portability basically means that, say, using a “0809” number will not necessarily mean you are a subscriber to the Etisalat network. Also, you could have a “0803” number and be a subscriber to Airtel. You can switch within the networks whilst still keeping your number.

A number of countries have long deployed such services; South Africa, Egypt, Israel, US, UK,etc.

It is not news that the quality of service being rendered by these companies is appalling at best. Someone even commented that it is a joke. I agreed with him, especially when i read in the papers that one of them is about launching 4G in Nigeria. 4G! Very hilarious.  Not one of them can even boast of rendering quality 3G services, talkless of 4G. Dont even get me started.

It is an open secret that my GSM company of choice, for now, is Etisalat. Aside from their unrivalled customer services, the 2.5G or Edge speed they have been offering is very much better than what the other jokers have been touting as “3G” or “3.5G”. I just hope that with the recent acquisition of their 3G license, they will show us what true 3G is!

As usual, can anyone visualize how this portability concept will play out in Nigeria? For one, the almighty MTN will frustrate anyone wishing to leave its stables. I am actually quoting a staffer. To transfer your number to another network, it takes as little as a few seconds in New Zealand, few minutes in Australia, and at the extreme end, 5 days in the UK. Can someone give an educative guess on how long it would take MTN? I shudder to think. Unfortunately, Glo is not much better, i honestly do not know which company has the worst customer service. It is obvious that these two companies would witness not a few of their customers jumping ship.

And on the bigger scene, an article was published on this website detailing the incursion of some big names into almost every technological facet of our lives; Bulk sms,etc. True to that article, Google is now actively involved in VOIP telephony, making calls over the internet. They also offer basically all what is being offered by these GSM companies. And guess what? They allow for Number portability. Christened GOOGLE VOICE, unfortunately, the service is not yet available in Nigeria, but like most technological advances, it would eventually.

I have a dream, that one day, in our country Nigeria, “Everywhere i go”, people  “Glo with pride” and … Airtel stopped its endless adverts on TV!!!