Telecom expert calls for sanction over fake 4G report

June 4, 2019
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Expert in the telecom industry have urged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to issue an order making it punishable for any telco who pushes out unverified information bordering on coverage of its services.

The call came when the latest Mobile Report 2019 launched by Jumia for Africa, showed that claims of nationwide 4G coverage by some telecommunications operators in Nigeria are fake.

Investigation by National Daily revealed that despite the bombardment of complaints by subscribers, who experienced increased dropped calls, aborted and undelivered short message services (SMS), and countless failed calls. Equally, Internet services remained a challenge; just as much as uploading and downloading activities, all of which make 4G services nothing to write home about, despite promises from Smile, nTel, Swift, and others, which claimed superiority.

Subscribers are also groaning under what they described as frustrating porting experiences. National Daily gathered that about 40 per cent of subscribers data are not been rolled over by the operators, which further compounds users woes. The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, had two years ago in Lagos, directed operators to roll-over unfinished data.

While subscribers piled up complaints over these lingering failures, watchers of the unfolding development in the telecommunications industry wondered why, despite repeated sanctions by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the sector’s regulator, poor services are rising in the industry, 17 years after the telecoms revolution in the country. This is even as operators insist they have continued to make almost yearly investments on network roll outs and facilities upgrades nationwide.

Speaking with National Daily a telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, wondered how long Nigerians would continue to suffer, despite spending between N2 trillion and N3 trillion on telecoms services, especially on airtime annually.

In the last few years of 4G LTE revolution, all leading networks and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) had been claiming jumping rise in their service coverage even as subscribers continue to decry service unavailability without any move by NCC to verify claims.

The Report revealed that whereas Nigeria currently has a paltry four per cent, other major markets in Africa are far away with South Africa’s 4G penetration at 18 per cent; Angola 16 per cent, while Egypt leads the continent with about 21 per cent.

The Mobile report noted that on average since 2015, around 20 new 4G networks launched in Africa every year.

The Report also revealed that over 44 per cent of mobile subscribers in Nigeria are still using 3G technology, while mobile broadband penetration is forecast to rise to 55 per cent of the population by 2025, with 70 per cent having 3G connectivity, and 17 per cent 4G networks. 5G network with the 26 GHz, 38 GHz and 42 GHz spectrum bands will be rolled out by 2020.

Whereas there are signs of massive growth, the African market is still falling behind on 4G. Spectrum allocation has been a challenge, and 4G business models remain in flux.

On the global scale, the Jumia Report averred that going forward; some 700 million new mobile subscribers from various countries across the world will push the total number of global mobile subscribers to six billion between now and 2025.

Nigeria has been identified among these countries, with others being India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, USA, and Brazil.

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