Telecom providers, customers bemoan challenges in the sector

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ABUJA – A cross section of telecommunications providers and customers across the country have bemoaned the challenges facing the industry in the country.

A cross section of the people made their views known in exclusive interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Lagos and other parts the country.

Most network providers complained of hostility of the environment as most of their facilities have either been vandalised or stolen by unknown persons, while some customer spoke of poor services and high tariff, among others.

For instance in Kuje, Nyanaya, Mpape, Karu, Asokoro areas of Abuja, mobile phone users complained of poor services rendered by the various networks, mostly at night.

Mrs Shila Andrew, an MTN subscriber, complained of getting unsubscribed messages for which the network provider had been deducting her money from her credit balance.

“Sometimes I am charged by the MTN for services I did not subscribe to; I also get unsolicited messages,’’ she said.

Mr Chizota Nwanyanwa, a businessman, complained that he had never been able to speak with any customer care agent of his network provider in spite of the several attempts to reach them.

Nwanyanwu said that sometimes, his credit for airtime would be deducted illegally for services he did not ask for.

Mrs Chinyere Ndokwa, a banker, described the unsolicited messages flooding her phone as ‘disturbing and irritating’.

Ndokwad described the frequent messages she received on her phone as an invasion of her privacy, as sometimes, the messages came at odd hours.

“Looking at the recurring challenges over the years, it seems to me that the mobile telephone service companies are not doing anything to address the complaints. “The regulatory body should, therefore, put more effort so that we can all enjoy better services from the telecoms providers,” she said.

Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, the President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers, said in Lagos that though operators claimed they included the ‘STOP’ option in messages sent, that option had not been functional.

According to Ogunbanjo, “when you send ‘stop’ to the short code, they still continue to send the unsolicited messages.

“It is getting too much; the messages are even increasing by the day. In fact, it is a way of cheating the subscribers because they continue to deduct money for such unsubscribed messages.’’

In Port-Harcourt, mobile phone users complained of poor service and high tariff charges.

Some of the subscribers told NAN that the cost of recharge cards sold across Rivers State was higher than the official price fixed by network providers.

A subscriber of MTN and Glo, mobile phones, Mr Michael Dick, said poor network from the service providers had been a challenge to the public.

Dick, who is also a mobile phones dealer, said that the poor network of providers deprived him of free flow of communication with his customers.

“I bought a Glo line as an alternative to my MTN line; even then Glo has also failed to give me the service I wanted, although its services are better in some areas. “Data plan of MTN for browsing would not allow me browse freely without wasting my airtime when subscribed, while Glo allows me to browse, its charges are very high compared to others,” he said.

Mr JohnPaul Solo, a subscriber to GLO and Airtel, who is also a cell phone dealer, said that some network providers ignored complaints from their customers.

According to him, each time he called the customer service desk, the desk officer would turned him down by saying that they will get back to him, which they don’t in the end. In Jigawa, telecommunication operators and the GSM service providers blamed their dealers for differences in the cost of recharge cards. The operators of MTN, Glo world and Etisalat, who spoke to NAN in Dutse, alleged that dealers deliberately increased prices of recharge cards to maximise profit.

Mr Sunday Akinwa, the Dutse Manager of Glo world, said the dealers’ action was affecting their businesses.

“We actually noticed that before now, dealers increased the prices beyond our approved market prices.

“We have taken steps to check this practice among the dealers and everything had been harmonized now.’’

Akinwa, however, identified poor weather conditions and insecurity due to insurgency as factors responsible for the epileptic and inefficient services being experienced by their customers in Jigawa.