Fresh worries for telecoms operators

GOVERNMENT

-
Image: By Jrobin08, Wikimedia Commons
Fresh worries for telecoms operators

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

For telecoms operators in Nigeria, these are certainly not the best of times as officials of Lagos State government has begun the demolition of base transceiver station (BTS) in the state that is the commercial nerve centre of the country and boasts of a population of about 20 million people.

Low quality of telecoms service has been a recurring decimal in the country with regulator of the sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently wielding the big stick, imposing huge financial sanction on all the global service mobile (GSM) communication providers in the country.

A new agency under the Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban Development, Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit (UFRU), last week came down heavily, demolishing BTS in some parts of metropolitan Lagos.

Reacting to this development, the lone voice of descent in the industry, the National Association of Telecom Subscribers (NATCOMS) warns the development could compound the service quality issue and put people’s lives at risk in a country that has suddenly become a haven for terrorists who carry out strike at will without let or hindrance. 

NATCOMS is upset that an agency “under the headship of Joe Igbokwe, went to some parts of Lagos State, particularly Okota, and in a fit of gangsterism, uprooted some base stations under the pretence that such BTS endangered people’ lives, when the real motive is revenue generation.”

Deolu Ogunbanjo, president of the body said its members are not against government’s attempt to squeeze money out of telecoms firms in the state, pulling down BTS tantamount to an act of unprovoked aggression.

“Whilst we are not against the government generating revenue to finance its laudable projects, but the agency’s resort to self-help and unprovoked aggression is a total negation of the rule of law professed by the state government. Our concern here is that the illegal acts of the agency stated above affected adversely the telecoms needs of our members in the areas where such illegalities were carried out, and they have complained to us,” the president lamented.

NATCOMS reasons that the agency’s excuse for such an illegal act was the protection of the lives of people in the areas affected which it says is just a subterfuge. If the agency had had a second thought, it would have found out that its complaints about BTS endangering the lives of the citizens and pulling them down much more constituted greater danger to the citizens.

“Just imagine in a moment of security challenges such as discovery of planted bomb, kidnapping, rioting, armed robbery siege, medical emergency, earth tremor etc, when those distress calls need to be made, and the BTS are no longer there to relay the signals, the ensuing perils would be worse,” the body argues.

Installation of BTS has a procedure regulated by the NCC, and this is to guarantee the safety of the infrastructure, the people living around it, and the environment.

It argues that even in the event of non-compliance with laid down procedure by a particular BTS and there is a resultant damage, it is simply a case of negligence actionable in a civil court by the victim, and it is not for the state agency to resort to show of brutal force, as it occurred at Okota, where the illegal uprooting of a BTS took place under the armed protection of the Police.

In the light of the foregoing, “we appeal to the Honourable Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban Development, to restrain the agency, UFRU, from further resorting to brute force. There are better ways of handling a matter like that,” the body notes.

The twin-issue of multiple regulation and taxation has been haunting the telecoms sector for quite a while. At a point, it was NESREA that suddenly woke up and started shutting down base stations.

The operators have never hidden their dissatisfaction over the development as it takes a huge chunk of their already high operational expenditure (opex). They say all manner of spurious taxes are extorted by federal, state and local government authorities while street urchins known Area Boys, community leaders and other community organizations. The National Assembly has promised to look into the matter.

A telecoms engineer says BTS is an integral part of an efficient telecommunications system. It connects two phone users for voice conversation, text message transmission, and data relay.

And in order to achieve quality service delivery, a state or city is usually divided into zones, technically known as Cell sites, and BTS are installed in each zone to guarantee efficient telecomms signals.

Absence or inadequacy of BTS creates a couple of problems, such as call-drops, data transmission failure, overloading of available cell sites, undermining security of phone users, decapitating the economic empowerment of phone users, etc. And because of the pivotal role of BTS as a telecomms infrastructure, it is a critical national asset, and for this reason, a lot of care need to be exercised in dealing with issue surrounding BTS.



alfred - Aug. 2, 2012, 12:27 a.m.

Engr Gbenga is a thief! Go and answer those innocent Nigeria Graduates you robbed in Jos. You and some MTN staffs jointly cheated them. God will punish all your generations!

Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

Kenyan capital adopts e-payment system

The Nairobi City County Government has moved to ease payment for services and streamline revenue collection by switching to e-payments. Read More

Congo-Brazzaville to launch digital governance agency

The Republic of Congo will soon launch a digital governance agency, to monitor and control the implementation of the country’s ICT projects.  Read More

Malawi launches Internet Governance Forum

Dr Edmund Katiti The Malawi Government and Nepad have launched the Malawi Internet Governance Forum in an effort to bring a semblance of order to the internet services in the country. Read More

Environmentalists welcome improved technology

Participants in a recent Monitoring For Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) conference in Botswana were upbeat about the new technologies that MESA is harnessing.  Read More

Kaberuka addresses Africa’s infrastructure gap at OECD

African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka made a strong case for the importance of tackling private investment impediments in the African infrastructure agenda during the joint AfDB, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and International Growth Center (IGC) event in Paris. Read More

Kenya inaugurates USAC

Kenya’s new Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC) has been inaugurated by the Cabinet Secretary, Information, Communications and Technology.  Read More

Education Minister: ICT vital in schools

Botswana’s Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has called for an increased uptake of ICTs in all schools in the country.  Read More

Innovation Hub introduces new offices

The Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has opened two new offices to services its wider clientele base.  Read More

Orange, DRC govt sign fibre optic deal

PTTIC DRC Orange and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo have signed a deal which will see Orange take control of the country’s fibre optic platform.  Read More

NCC presents telecoms governance code

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has launched a Corporate Governance Code for the telecommunications industry. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

Widening ICT skills gap: Cause for concernWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern

Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.

IN DEPTH

Kenya rolls out e-extension to improve agricultureKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture

In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.

COMPANY NEWS

VMware reports second quarter 2014 results

VMware, the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, today announced financial results for the second quarter of 2014.

New Sage ERP X3 version puts business information at your fingertips

Sage ERP Africa has announced the availability of Sage ERP X3 version 7, the latest version of its global business management solution for midsized companies. 

How the cloud can power entrepreneurship and urbanisation in Africa

Cloud computing is not only fundamentally changing the way business operates, it is also driving a new wave of job creation opportunities, says SAP Africa.