• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Telcos’ fibre deployments rise 20.56% amid poor broadband service

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Telecommunications companies’ investments in network expansion initiatives, specifically fibre infrastructure deployment rose 20.56 percent by the end of 2013, amid rising complaints by mobile subscribers over shabby data service delivery rendered by operators.

According to a year-end report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), 68,124 kilometre of fibre links were rolled out by telecoms operator by the end of last year representing a 20.56 percent increase from the 56, 505 kilometre recorded by December 2012.

According to the NCC, out of the 68,124 kilometre of fibre cables deployed by 2013, 48,901 kilometre was on land while 19,223 kilometre was submarine. Glo invested the most with the largest on land and submarine fibre running 18,569 kilometre and 19,200 kilometre respectively followed closely followed by South Africa’s MTN with submarine fibre of 18,142km.

On the other hand, Multilinks, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network deployed 5,789 kilometre of in-land fibre while Visafone laid 43 kilometres. In recent months, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have really stepped up deployment of fibre infrastructure in and around Lagos, the country’s commercial nerve centre, in an attempt to meet the Quality of Service (QoS) mandates of the telecoms regulator. “We expect to see better voice and data service delivery as telecoms operators connect more of the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) with fibre,” Olajide Aremu, general manager, network operations for Globacom, told BusinessDay at an industry forum.

READ ALSO: Nigeria targets 50% broadband penetration by 2021

Market observer are of the view that in spite of the massive investment ploughed into fibre infrastructure rollout across the country, Nigeria’s internet market is still characterised by the slow and exasperating access to the global cyberspace.

Mariam Bayi, director, consumer affairs at NCC, said the commission is constantly inundated with complaints from mobile subscribers, who express their discontent with poor data services rendered by mobile operators.

“Sourcing from our Complaint Management Database, we have compiled the most prevalent consumer complaints on Data Service Delivery. These include:- inability to browse, abnormal depletion of data, unsuccessful data renewal, Unauthorised service renewal,” Bayi told BusinessDay at the 76th edition of the repackaged Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) in Lagos.

Bayi warned that the commission was keeping close tabs on telcos as it relates to data service delivery, adding that consumer satisfaction is critical to a sustainable telecoms industry. We know operators want return-on-investment. But, that should not be to the detriment of the subscribers”, she also explained.

Mobile operators are taking critical steps to address some of the complaints outlined by the NCC director. “In the area of abnormal depletion of data, we have a notification feature on our network which tells subscribers at different points where they are in terms of data usage”, said Ibe Nwandu, consumer manager, Airtel.

He went on, “in terms of inability to browse, connectivity is largely dependent on availability of the network.

As a business, if customers are not able to use the networks, then we cannot make money.

Customer experience is critical to us.”

Nwandu cautioned customers on their use of smartphones, adding that users should switch off services running at the background, which they were not making use of in order to stop data depletion. Bekele Tadesse, country manager, Ceragon Network, says pervasive broadband internet accelerates economic growth and reduce poverty.

He therefore called on the federal government to mobilise resources that would help drive deployment of broadband across the country.

Telcos in Nigeria are engaging in a new and aggressive deployment of fibre networks into industrial areas, housing estates and business districts in many parts of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states, in a bid to fully utilise large amounts of high-speed international bandwidth lying idle on the country’s coastline.

BusinessDay investigations reveal that telcos have been laying their cables in the high-brow Ajah, Lekki, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Marina and Broad Street axis and Snake Island areas, where they have made significant progress. The situation is the same in the Yaba Business District and some parts of Surulere.

More recently, the telcos have been piping from Ikeja through Alimosho, Abeokuta Expressway and Ota Road to Itohun, Ilogbo, Igbesa and Agbara.

Ben Uzor