NCC seeks to shut GSM operators' offices

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The Punch reports that the Nigerian Communications Commission is seeking to shut down the offices of GSM operators, all of whom so far have failed to pay the fines imposed on them recently.

According to the report, NCC say they won’t shut down base stations, just offices. But err, if offices are shut, how does logistics to keep base stations running get executed? Eventually, base stations will shut down too. Then we can move forward to the past that we so much cherish as a country.

My opinion? NCC should cut out the crap and find other ways to regulate apart from these fines.

Government (and NCC) failed in their obligations to these operators. Remember the promises of stable power supply, infrastructure, and stable/favourable running environments, among others? Where is the fulfillment of those promises? Truth be told, those operators are squeezing water out of rock already.

Yes; they make huge profits, but then if I have to put in more and sweat more to run a business, why shouldn’t I rake more returns?

The NCC should stop acting like a bully. Instead, ask these operators to compensate subscribers with free airtime, SMS and/or data. That’s more reasonable. This posturing won’t do. Sooner or later, it is likely to backfire.

Government themselves were unable to run a GSM operation profitably, but it is those who are making things work against all odds that are being hunted. Nice.

When eventually, the GSM operations get shut down, with what line is the NCC boss and the government he represents communicate? NITEL and Mtel’s dead lines?

16 comments

  1. This is my opinion: Government should create an enabling environment for investors to operate without any hitch(es). It is morally wrong to accuse the operators of failing in their area of ‘primary assignment’ when basic infracture(s) are not being provided by the government. For instance the cost of running the generators at their base stations is high, servicing, diesel costs etc. Power supply in nothing to write home about, security is next to nothing, multiple taxation and a whole lot of other issues.
    I hereby recommend that the government should play its part/role effectively, then we can have the mind to call the operators to order when the need arises.
    In the interim, operators should compensate consumers with free airtime, sms and/or data as stated in your write up.
    Thank you.

  2. Been wondering- why are certain businesses under regulation/supervision (banking, telecoms / ICTs , etc) – but not others?

    Come to think of it – iI is actually ridiculous for government agencies to regulate / fine a business that is privately owned, ,run and funded.

    If they do not perform, let customers ‘vote with their wallet.’

    If they constitute themselves into multiple_monopolies, government can license more operators!

    I have a feeling NCC will get nowhere on this..

  3. This is a war NCC will definitely loose. There is no logic in the argument that only offices (and not base stations) will be locked. Like you pointed out, if the offices are locked, the base stations will eventually shut down, and telecommunication will eventually grind to a halt. NCC should just swallow it’s pride and look for alternative ways to checkmate the GSM companies. Kicking up their offices is completely out of the question.

  4. The NCC should stop acting like a bully. Instead, ask these operators to compensate subscribers with free airtime, SMS and/or data.That’s more reasonable. The NCC should stop acting like a bully. Instead, ask these operators to compensate subscribers with free airtime, SMS and/or data.That’s more reasonable….

    Very sad indeed. The sad truth about the situation right now is that the present NCC boss is not there for the welfare of the masses or that of the communication sector but rather for his personal interest, and those other penal options enumerated here and rightly so, will not in any way help his personal interest. He is simply there to make money for himself and his family and generations unborn, and if the fine if not channeled into NCC account, then you can see it is not good for him.

    Let him continue, maybe this will trigger the much needed revolution in the country.

  5. Just goes to show that there are people in positions of power but have no idea how to get things done, nor work with others.

    If this is true, the NCC is now a confirmed glorified joke and clueless.

  6. Two wrongs don’t make a right. NCC may not get far with this fine issue, but truth be told these telcos r ripping Nigerians off. Government promised an enabling environment but did not provide it, this is nothing new in Nigeria. Any business anywhere in the world needs to have integrity, it’s brand name should be what it says it is or what it claims it to be. It is impossible to call gprs speeds 3.5g any where outside Nigeria, but here it’s common place. Gala has no beef in it yet it’s written all over the wrapper that it’s loaded with beef. Lets call a spade a spade n stop making excuses for these GSM operators, their services r crap. Nigerians don’t know standard things. May God help this country. Amen

  7. … Lets call a spade a spade n stop making excuses for these GSM operators, their services r crap.Nigerians don’ t know standard things. May God help this country. Amen

    Well, I really do not know the countries or regions you are using for your references. Even here in Africa, Ghana and South Africa to be more direct, the state of electric power supply in this country is in no way comparable to these two countries, and yet we want to do better than them in a sector that is heavily reliant on electricity.

    I’m not making a case for the telecom operators, they have actually been underwhelming but the fact remains that the present fine imposed on them is misplaced and driven by personal interest of the NCC boss. I mean how can the masses be suffering the effect of the poor performance of the telecoms operators, poor performance that is greatly helped by the underwhelming performance of the government and the NCC, an arm of the same government seeking and insisting on enjoying whatever restitution that is rightly due for the consumers?

  8. Funso, your comment above says “Government promised an enabling environment but did not provide it, this is nothing new in Nigeria” and i find that statement very limiting and unacceptable. When will the much desired change come if we don’t question the so called leaders and ‘Government’ along with their empty promises. My opinion on this issue is to measure the GSM operators based on the reality on ground and not with the same standards of civilized countries like the US and UK. Provide them with steady power and protect their infrastructure, then sanction them if they fail to provide we the subscribers with quality network

  9. Neze,

    …measure the GSM operators based on the reality on ground and not with the same standards of civilized countries like the US and UK. Provide them with steady power and protect their infrastructure, then sanction them if they fail to provide we the subscribers with quality network.

    Well said.

  10. @ Harry :As I’ve heard in the past, Nigerians discovery of oil is more of a curse than a blessing. With all the oil and Gas Nigeria he she still can’t generate power. Pity :-(. Mast can be powered using alternative sources of energy, efficiently. I’m talking about solar and wind Energy or a combination. I’ll not start listing advantages. Because someone is making profit somewhere nobody adopts these alternatives. Read this link. http://www.gizmag.com/helix-wind-turbine-cellphone-tower/13018/ This was done in 2009.
    Let’s face it the telecoms people still make a hefty profit, i pay through my nose, I get poor services. Abroad the connect rate of calls is above 98%, this means once you dial just put the phone to your ear, u don’t need to look at the screen of the phone to make sure it connect, before putting to your ear.

  11. @ Neze and Mr. Mo. I’m not a politician so i can’t talk for the people in power. So many things r lacking in this great country because people in power are not `selfless`. The Telecom guys must have done a pre survey best coming to set up shop. They also must have had projections… Terry didn’t come here blind or deaf. Quality of service, very important.

  12. Yes, they had projections – all based on promises and assurances from the government, NONE OF WHICH THE GOVT FULFILLED.

    I run a technology-based business in this country and know firsthand the kind of hell it is to keep things going, not to mention attempting to measure up to any international standards. It is hard because nothing you depend on works.

    Government should put its house in order before sanctioning anyone.

  13. I run a technology- based business in
    this country and know firsthand the
    kind of hell it is to keep things going,
    not to mention attempting to measure
    up to any international standards . It is
    hard because nothing you depend on
    works .

    I agree with you on this. Sorry about the pains you go through.

  14. “Government should put its house in order before sanctioning anyone”.
    I laugh in Japanese. Who is going to call our government to account in order to achieve this?

    True, running a business in Nigeria is not easy; local, state and federal government barely help – so long as they get their share, don’t expect accountability. As a business person in the Nigerian environment, you’re on your own and you better have the resources to pick up the slack that isn’t provided in every area. Don’t expect any help but expect everyone to want to pick from your pocket in order to do the simplest thing. That is the reality on ground.

    Sadly this is the norm, and the world in which the NCC and GSM operators operate. I’m not a fan of many of the habits of the GSM operators, but in this case I expect it to spectacularly backfire on the NCC. My only concern is that we the average user will have to pay for any fallout (the grass that gets trampled in the elephant fight).

  15. As long as government continues to fail in its responsibilities, expect standards in nigeria to remain poor across board. The government knows firsthand how difficult it is to operate in nigeria. Everything the government touches fails. Nigerian Airways, Virgin Nigeria, NEPA/PHCN, Refineries, NITEL/MTEL, Police, Fire Service, Water Works and so on.

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