Airtel Nigeria along with MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat have finally paid the $7.3 million fine imposed by the regulatory commission over poor quality of services.
The telecom companies, at a meeting with the commission last week, had agreed to pay their fines after an agreement was reached with the commission to review the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
MTN’s Corporate Services Executive, Wale Goodluck, has confirmed to The Nation that his company had paid the fine, at the Sixth Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos. A source at the commission confirming the payment of the fine to the medium, said, “It was a win-win situation.”
Nigeria’s telecom regulatory authority, NCC, had on May 10 imposed a fine of N1.17 billion ($7.3 million) on the four operators in the country for poor quality of services after an analysis of the KPIs on their networks for the months of March and April. The regulatory body sanctioned the operators for failing to satisfy the Nigerian mobile user population, who, mostly, use two lines as an alternative to network failure from any provider.
The NCC had arrived at the decision on testing the operators on four parameters Call Set-up Success Rate, Call Completion Rate, Drop Call Rate and Traffic Channel Congestion. The commission said the telecoms companies have failed to meet with the minimum standard of quality of service, but the telecoms company declined arguing that poor service quality was due to poorly developed infrastructure, like electricity, in the country.
MTN and Etisalat were fined N360million ($2.2 million) each, while Airtel and Globacom were fined N270million ($1.7 million) and N180million ($1.1 million) respectively. They were given up till May 25 to pay the fine or get additional N2.5million ($15, 520) daily as contravention charges.
Last year in October, Airtel Nigeria and two other operators had got warning from Nigerian telecom regulator NCC over poor quality of service. The regulator threatened them with fine if they don’t take steps to improve their services.
The regulator said that it has procured equipment to monitor if customers are able to make and receive calls as well as the quality of the calls. The directive followed customer complaints of poor services by some telecom companies.
The Commission had given the operators 30 days to improve their service quality or face sanctions. Airtel Nigeria's Managing Director and CEO Rajan Swaroop had earlier urged the government to issue a National Policy on Communications (NPC). At the 3rd West African Information and Communications Technology (WAFICT) event, he urged the policy makers to incorporate broadband in the framework of their strategies. Swaroop's comments and the regulator's warning came amid some experts saying that the quality issues can be liked to under utilization of landline network. A telecom expert Monday Ogbe told a local newspaper that the poor services could be linked to poor fibre-utilisation.