ALTON seeks better environment for operators in Nigeria

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Telecoms operators under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), is seeking better working environment for service providers in the country, and described the present operating environment as harsh, thereby limiting upgrades and expansion.

ALTON made this call at the 81st edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP), organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in Lagos with the theme: “Celebrating the Telecom Consumer.”

ALTON’s Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, an engineer, who made this call, said the challenge of site closure needs to be addressed, noting that the Ogun State Government had shut down 25 telecommunication sites for various reasons.”Consequentially, this will affect the quality of service of telecom consumers,” he said in reaction to a complaint by a telecom consumer in Ogun State.

“The average consumer will blame the service providers for the connection experience, but we know the impact closure of sites does have on our services. This issue remains a major challenge on the quality of service in the industry.”He listed other challenges as equipment theft; where stolen materials are sold in the open market.

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“Another issue is permit. For instance, no service provider has been able to install new telecom site in Abuja, because the authorities will not grant operators to build a telecom site. This again has its impact on consumer experience. However, we will do the optimum in our stead to give the consumer a good experience, because they are centric to the industry.”

Corroborating Adebayo, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska, said service delivery is dependent on the availability of certain key infrastructure. “One of these is the masts. As mentioned, some states are closing sites. Why do you not have cables in your homes and offices? It is because these services are delivered. The masts make them wireless as they represent the cable. If those sites are closed or unavailable, there will be no service. There are areas in the country where permission is yet to be granted for the establishment of sites. We have an increasing tele-population, but few sites; therefore, there will be challenges on quality of service. On security, there have been issues of vandalism and theft.

“However, the Commission has little control, and we ensure that the operators make required corrections at par with the necessary guidelines. While, for those beyond our control, we engage the appropriate stakeholders just that it does not happen as fast as we would have wanted.”

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