'Why low service quality persists'
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
Until the process of rolling out new base transmission station (BTS) is debottlenecked and wilful and accidental vandalism of optic fibre cables are addressed, low service quality will persist, MTN Nigeria has said.
MTN Corporate Services Executive Akinwale Goodluck, who said this in Lagos, noted that the issue around service quality is essentially that of “capacity problem” occasioned by the dearth of infrastructure in the country. He lamented that even when the operators were willing to roll out, there was always the frustration of getting the necessary approvals from various government agencies and communities who demand all sorts of spurious levies and charges to extort money from the operators.
Added to this is constant vandalism of optic fibre cables by people who ignorantly feel the cables are of commercial value and those who wilfully vandalise them because they realise the cables are vital, not only to telecommunications, but also to banks and other electronic transactions. Another kind of vandalism the cables suffer is that of construction workers, he added. Goodluck noted that there is massive road construction works going across the country leading to inadvertent damage to the cables.
He said: “People go and vandalise the cables in the night, sometimes as early as 2 am. The fibre is not much of use because it not copper and this is the worry for us. People actually set out to damage the network so that when going to carry out repairs, the vandals will start making all sorts of spurious demands.” He disclosed that in May, the telco integrated 250 2G BTS to the network to improve customers’ experience, adding that persistent fibre cuts render redundant capacities meaningless. “We are working with the government, security agencies to guarantee this vulnerable infrastructure. Members of the public must also regard telecommunications infrastructure as theirs and not that of MTN because it allows them to communicate with their loved ones easily,” he said, urging the public to be vigilant.