Five telecommunications firms in Ghana fined GH¢1.2m for providing poor services

The five operating telecommunications companies (telcos) in the country have been slapped with a fine totalling GH¢1.2 million by the National Communications Authority (NCA) for providing poor quality services to their clients.

The move, which covers the third quarter of this year, forms part of the telecom regulator’s quest to sanction poor quality service delivery offered to clients of the telcos and also ensure that consumers have value for money.

The five companies are MTN, Vodafone, Airtel, Expresso and tiGO.

A report by the NCA said Airtel suffered the heaviest fine as it is expected to pay GH¢350,000.

The Indian owned Airtel, which has approximately 10 per cent of the market with a total customer base of two million as of the end of August, this year, experienced a lot of traffic channel congestion in Tamale, and Sekondi/Takoradi and the Upper East and Upper West, and Greater Accra regions.

MTN, the country’s largest telecom company, and Expresso, the least patron­ised telco, were also fined GH¢300,000 each.

MTN, which maintained its lead as the country’s biggest mobile phone company with 9.8 million subscribers, as of the end of September, this year, was also fined for the same offence as Airtel.

Its poor quality service was noticed in the Upper East and Upper West, Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo regions during the period under review.

Expresso, formerly Kasapa, has a sub­scriber base of 206,606 (August 2011) down its January figure of 244,676.

Vodafone, which also defaulted in its service quality in three regions; Western, Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo, was fined GH¢150,000.

The second largest operator, tiGO, was fined the least of GH¢100,000, having defaulted in the Western and the three northern regions.

The action by the NCA, which is expected to be lauded by industry analysts and consumers alike, comes at a time when competition within the sector has reached its highest point ever.

It is also an indictment on the telcos which continue to drum their so-called high quality service through every available platform at their disposal only to attract more customers, yet do very little to meet service standards.

Many are those who have often com­plained about the frequent call drops, delays in call set-ups and call congestion.

One subscriber who carries the lines of all the operators, Mr Godwill Amenyo, a welder, told the Daily Graphic he was com­pelled to use all the lines because he was’ unable to trust any of them.

As part of the licence conditions of the operators, they are required to maintain a certain minimum quality of key service performance indicators.

A highly placed source at the NCA told the Daily Graphic that “during the period under review, quality of service monitoring was conducted in Cape Coast, Elmina, Winneba, Sekondi- Takoradi, Tarkwa, Prestea, Wa, Jirapa, Navrongo, and Tamale.

The key performance indicators used in measuring the attainment of service quality Were Call Setup Time; Call Congestion Rate and Call Drop Rate.

Source: Daily Graphic

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