In recent times, there has been a lot of conversation around the degeneration of the telecommunications sector, despite many indications that the sector has fostered growth.
In 2016, even with the recession alarms, the telecoms sector contributed 9.8% to the country's GDP. The industry has been assertive but a whole lot still has to be done. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) just inaugurated a new board tasked with ensuring that telecoms operators (telcos) deliver good service. It follows that the solution to the current problems of the telecom sector might not necessarily be a change in the board.
Subscribers in Nigeria lose an average of ₦730 billion annually to poor quality of service stemming from poor network capacity. Taking into account the constant cry from telcos, we would discover that the reason why some are consistent in their bad service might be beyond their scope to solve. Some of the issues they raise are;
Damage to telecom infrastructure
The persistent damage of telecom infrastructure has been a major concern for telcos. Monies intended for system upgrades are being spent on replacing damaged infrastructure. Telcos are complaining bitterly of this dastardly act and their plea is falling on deaf ears. If there would be a better quality of service by telecoms this issue has to be well addressed.
Epileptic power supply
Arguably, there is no sector in Nigeria that is not suffering from an epileptic power supply. The issue has been reoccurring for years and it seems we are not making any headway. Without power, there is little or no advancement that can happen in the telecom sector. Power generation must be created to add to the existing power we have. Telcos strive on power and until there is a solution to power we might never have quality service. This is an area the new board can work on by creating new channels of power generation for telecoms.
Inadequate telecom masts
Telcos should endeavour to build more telecom masts so as to eradicate black spots from Nigeria. We should be able to receive and call without any hindrance. Telcos can decide to share masts so as to save cost.
These are persistent issues among others that have lingered for years. Telcos are battling with these problems and this has hindered their improvement in service. No business would thrive in an environment where resources that could have been used to do systems upgrades are diverted to pay for repairs and debts.
The new NCC board should craft out parameters to guide the performance and challenges of the sector. This is the only way they can be aware of the current state of the sector. It just happens that there are multiple regulations to stifle the telcos. Some of this regulations should be revisited and new policies created to address the current problems of the sector. Just as the NCC should work on some of this things, telcos should look out for palliative measures to better their services.
NCC should ensure the active enforcement of deactivation of unregistered subscribers. This way poor service quality would be curtailed. The NCC should create channels and deploy base stations, masts and fibre optic cables to mobile operators to combat mobile black spots.
Be the smartest in the room
The challenge of poor quality of service in Nigeria’s telecoms industry is not impossible to surmount. All that is needed is cooperation among all stakeholders to come together and solve the various problems.