Cellcos may face class action

29 Jan 2008

AllAfrica.com reports that plans are afoot to file a class action suit against Nigerian cellcos over the persistent network congestion suffered by subscribers across the country. ‘We are quietly building up a coalition of…interested stakeholders because we share a common grievance and that is the abysmal quality of service that mobile phone users suffer in this country,’ a source close to the proposed legal team said, adding that most of the ‘interested stakeholders’ are lawyers and are currently studying the appropriate legal instruments, including the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 and relevant provisions of the nation’s consumer protection laws to back their claims. The lawyers hope to claim damages over alleged contractual breach by operators that continue to take up subscribers, ‘even though they have inadequate capacity to handle the increased traffic,’ said the source.

Nigerian cellcos have come under repeated fire about poor quality of their networks and allegations that they are signing up customers faster than the network infrastructure can be expanded to cope. In their defence, they cite security problems with their rural base stations, and difficulties in getting planning permission to install new towers in urban areas.