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FEBRUARY 4, 2013 Telecom operators fleece subscribers of N31bn in drop calls value. By PRINCE OSUAGWU No respite in sight Meanwhile, the situation may still linger as both the operators and the regulator are trading blames and spoiling for war against each other. Late last year, the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo had declared that the operators may be sanctioned this quarter over poor services if the Key Performance Indicator, KPI, which the commission put in place, indicated that their services were still poor. Ojobo had said that the regulator would not fold its arms and watch millions of Nigerians who depend on the services of the operators to communicate to loved ones, friends and business associates to suffer losses due to poor telecommunications O N a rough estimate, Nigerian subscribers may have spent well over N31.02bn on dropped and unconnected calls since January last year, owing to poor quality of services from the telecom operators. Most networks in the country claim to have upgraded their network to 3g and 4g that never deliver services. Nigerians using ipad are worse off as downloads are so frustrating that in a day, a subscriber may not be able to connect or download music or video. This figure of N31.02 billion was roughly estimated from the Average Revenue Per User, ARPU spending of 102.3 million subscribers (as at June last year) which amounted to about N103.4 bn, in relation to an opinion poll conducted by this reporter which saw many subscribers claiming that 30 per cent of their call costs were wasted. From major part of last year, mostly during the yuletide period and even till now, telecom subscribers in the country have had to resort to hanging on the trees and roof tops to complete their calls. The only time this was the case was at the early stage of GSM operation in Nigeria in 2001 when the networks were just building. Then, in addition to hanging on the trees, Nigerians resorted to high antennas to receive strong signals and incidentally, many buildings and other structures were dotted with embarrassing poles, antennas that did not beautify the Nigerian air space. The situation compelled the operators into making massive investments in network and backbone infrastructure that launched the country into the top spot of African telecom market and spiralled into branding Nigeria as one of the fastest emerging markets in the world. Although the quality of service after Continues on page 18 147.55 0.6 2,199.00 -6.00 18.7 -0.08 116.63 +1.08 97.61 the investments cannot be described as perfect, subscribers lament that call completion has never been as bad. 30 per cent call costs wasted? Although the operators have given both human and natural causes of the problem, the reality is that subscribers are still at the receiving end, spending hard earned money on calls that did not deliver value. In fact, it is believed that over 30 per cent of call costs in recent times are wasted in either dropped calls or entirely unconnected calls. Nigerian subscribers, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, hit 102.3 million mark as at June last year, with an Average Revenue Per User, ARPU, of N1.011 and spent about N103.4 bn in call cost within that period. If 30 per cent of this is wasted, like many subscribers have alleged, that means that about N31.02b was wasted on calls that did not connect or deliver +0.12 CURRENCY BUYING CENTRAL DOLLAR POUNDS EURO FRANC YEN CFA WAUA RENMINBI RIYA KRONA SDR 154.74 155.24 244.9689 245.7604 211.0963 211.7784 171.059 171.6118 1.6803 1.6857 0.3007 0.3107 237.7412 238.5094 24.8466 24.9273 41.2607 41.394 28.2775 28.3688 238.5008 239.2714 SELLING 155.74 246.552 212.4605 172.1645 1.6912 0.3207 239.2776 25.008 41.5273 28.4602 240.0421 CBN Exchange rate as at 1/02/2013

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