Cellcos face more fines if service quality falls short

30 Nov 2012

Nigeria’s telecoms operators could face further fines if their service has failed to improve by the time renewed quality checks are carried out in December, Bloomberg cites Communications Technology Minister Omobola Johnson as saying. In May the country’s four GSM operators were fined a combined NGN1.17 billion (USD7.3 million) for falling short of quality of service standards; South Africa’s MTN and UAE-based Etisalat each received a penalty of NGN360 million, while Airtel Nigeria, which is owned by Indian telco Bharti Airtel, and local operator Globacom were fined NGN270 million and NGN180 million, respectively. ‘Fining isn’t something we want to do every six months, so we’re working very closely with them,’ Johnson said in an interview, adding: ‘Many of the companies don’t want to get fined again, but if they do not meet those quality of service indicators, they will get fined.’ Earlier this month the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) banned telecoms firms from launching promotions and lotteries in a bid to ease network congestion. The operators, however, have argued that capacity constraints alone are not to blame for poor service, stating that roadworks, sabotage of network infrastructure, multiple taxation and a lack of electricity have been partly responsible for their failure to meet quality measures.