Thursday, April 18, 2013

Airtel Nigeria rated the Best Network Provider as NNC lifts Bans on Promos

On Monday October 8, 2012, the Nigerian
Communications Commission (NCC) announced
a blanket ban on all telecoms promos and
lotteries across networks, which affected
MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat.
After the ban, NCC stood its ground and
refused to shift its position, in spite of
several pleas from interest groups who were
insisting that the ban was against subscribers'
right to telecoms freebies and inimical to
telecoms growth.
Comparing the regulatory policies in other
African countries the group, explained that
NCC's action placed Nigeria as the first and
only country in Africa and indeed the rest of
the world to place blanket ban on telecoms
promos and lotteries.
Although NCC vehemently refused to listen to
public outcry over the ban, the commission was
however targeting a time when telecoms
operating companies must have learnt their
lessons in stabilising their networks.
Having convinced that such lessons must have
been learnt over the past six months and that
the networks were becoming relatively stable,
NCC, penultimate week, quietly lifted the ban,
but not for MTN, which the commission said,
was yet to meet up with the Key Performance
Indicators (KPIs) standards that were set by
the NCC to measure service quality across
networks.
Although telecoms subscribers were happy
with the lifting of the ban on promos, they
however warned that such amnesty must not
be extended to lotteries, which they said,
remained counterproductive to telecoms
business.
Reasons for Excluding MTN
Director, Public Affairs for NCC, Mr. Tony
Ojobo, who confirmed the lifting of the ban,
told THISDAY that MTN was excluded from
among other operators who have NCC's nod to
run promos, because MTN was yet to meet the
commission's KPI test.
The test, according to Ojobo, was carried out
in December last year, two months after the
announcement of the ban.
In February this year, NCC slammed a fine of
N22 million on MTN, Globacom, Airtel and
Etisalat for contravening the ban on promo,
and the four GSM operators had since paid
the combined fine of N22 million. Again, NCC,
in March this year, fined MTN alone for the
same reason, but it is not certain if MTN has
paid the fine.
Why Promos, Lotteries Were Banned
While announcing the promo ban last year,
Ojobo said the decision became necessary,
following increased congestion across
networks that was traced to incessant promos
and lotteries.
The ban according to Ojobo, covered all
proposed and approved promotions and
lotteries on which the commission had given
approval further to the Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) entered into with the
National Lottery Regulatory Commission
(NLRC).
"This ban is with immediate effect and shall
continue to remain in force until such a time as
may be determined by the commission," Ojobo
said.
According to Ojobo, the promotions increased
the number of minutes available to subscribers
for use within a limited period of time and
created congestion in the networks as
subscribers tried to use up the available
minutes within the stipulated time. He also
said that on-net calls were being offered by
operators at tariffs well below the prevailing
inter-connect rates thereby introducing anti-
competitive practices and behaviour.
Another reason he gave was that termination
of calls became increasingly difficult from one
network to another and overall consumer
experience on the networks became very poor,
which made it extremely difficult for
subscribers to make calls successfully.
He added that the commission carefully
evaluated the complaints received especially
against the backdrop of sustaining the
integrity of the networks, the general interest
of the consumers, the socio-economic impact
of the promotions on operators and other
relevant stakeholders, before taking the
decision to ban promos and lotteries.
Promos That Attracted the Ban
Some of the promos that moved NCC to place
indefinite ban on promos and lotteries include
the MTN N1 billion promo; MTN Automania
promo, where people were fascinated with 100
cars in 100 days; the MTN Ultimate Wonder
promo, where aeroplane, valued at N64 million,
was used as the winning star prize. Others
were the Globacom 'Text4Million Promo', Glo
'Win and Rule Promo', 'Glo End of Discussion
Promo', Airtel 'Recharge and Win Promo';
Airtel '100 millionaires Promo', among several
others.
In the MTN Automania Promo, 100 Hyundai
cars were released for grab in 100 days, and
customers were asked to text 'Yes' to a short
code, '1010' to participate in the promo. For
the MTN Ultimate Wonder promo, new and
existing subscribers were asked to recharge
with a minimum of N200 to qualify for weekly
draws, while a recharge of N300 and above
for the duration of the promo, qualified a
subscriber to win the grand prize of aeroplane
or its cash equivalent of N64 million. The
promo also promised one weekly star prize
winner with N2 million plus 100 weekly
consolation prizes of N50, 000.
In the season 3 of the Glo 'Text4Million
Promo', customers were winning cash prize
running into hundreds of thousands of naira
and millions of naira. The promo promised
existing and potential Glo subscribers the
chance of winning from N30, 000 to N3 million
daily or N6 million weekly. It came with
monthly prize of N12 million cash and a grand
prize of N24 million cash, in addition to
consolation prizes of iPods, Samsung Galaxy
Tabs, HP laptops and N500 worth of airtime
for 100 winners daily.
The monetary attractions, convinced many
subscribers to subscribe to the various
promos, which largely caused congestion
across networks, according to NCC.
Subscribers Position on the Lifting of Ban
Telecoms subscribers are happy that NCC has
at last lifted the ban on telecoms promos, but
they are insisting on compensation from
telecoms operators.
President of the National Association of
Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr. Deolu
Ogunbanjo, who hailed the decision of NCC to
lift the ban on promo, warned that lottery ban
should not be lifted at all, since it does not
add value to the generality of subscribers.
He called on NCC to compel telecoms
operators to compensate subscribers for the
loss of airtime that were bought and loaded
into their phones, without making calls with
them before they were wiped out by the
operating networks. He suggested that
operators pay each subscriber N2, 500 as
compensation, and that the money should be
paid as airtime. Speaking on behalf of
telecoms subscribers, Ogunbanjo told
THISDAY in a telephone interview that the
issue of paying fine to NCC for poor service
quality should be stopped, and that telecoms
operators should rather use the fine money to
compensate subscribers who suffer the brunt
of poor service quality across networks.
Effects of Promo Ban
Subscribers and some human right activists
have argued that instead of an indefinite ban,
the NCC would have devised another method
that would still lead to improvement in service
quality, without affecting subscribers' choice
of freedom and the operators' revenue
generation in any way.
They are of the strong belief that both
operators and subscribers were adversely
affected by the blanket ban.
They blamed NCC for not using the results on
the KPI test it carried out before the
announcement of the ban, where some
operators actually meet certain percentage of
NCC's KPI standards.
Last year, NCC released the result of its audit
report for March and April, where it rated
Airtel the best operator for service quality.
Airtel was said to have recorded impressive
performances when compared with the
commission's target on four crucial
parameters namely Call Set-up Success Rate
(CSSR), Call Completion Rate (CCR), Drop Call
Rate (DCR) and Traffic Channel Congestion
(TCH).
Etisalat, the latest entrant in the GSM
business, had earlier been rated best
telecommunications service provider for good
service quality by the NCC, based on the Key
Performance Indicator audit report released
in February last year.
Even with such rating, Airtel and Etisalat were
not spared when NCC announced the ban in
October last year.
"It is wrong for NCC to place a blanket ban on
all operators, while in the actual sense of it
some networks offered better quality service
than others," some subscribers said.
In their submission, most operators were
unduly punished with the blanket ban, and they
were deprived of good revenue that comes
with promos. On the other hand, some of the
subscribers who spoke with THISDAY said
they missed the freebies, bonuses and
discounts from telecoms promo in the last six
months and they were glad that promo is back
again.
Now that Promo is Back on Stage
Since NCC has lifted the ban on telecoms
promo, it is expected that operators like
Airtel, Etisalat and Globacom that have been
cleared by NCC to run telecoms promo, will not
take undue advantage of the lifting of the ban
to introduce all manners of promos, without
the commensurate expansion of their networks
to accommodate the surge from subscriber
numbers. Some telecoms experts had in the
past, blamed telecoms operators for poor
service quality, insisting that operators were
busy introducing new promos that were
constantly increasing their subscriber number,
without making same efforts to upgrade their
networks to accommodate subscribers'
increase as well as call volume increase.
Source :This Day Newspaper.
Sent from my Blog http://naijagoogleblogger.blogspot.com/

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