MTN, Airtel, Glo fined millions of dollars for poor quality service in Nigeria , more than they were fined in Ghana

MTN, Glo Mobile, Airtel and Etisalat have been fined a total of over $7.4 million in Nigeria for poor quality of service in the months of April and May, 2012.

Reports from Nigeria said the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) slapped the fines on the four operators on Thursday, May 11, 2012 for failing to meet minimum standard of quality of service key performance indicators (KPIs) set for them.

MTN and Etisalat were slapped with the heaviest fines of almost $2.3million each; Airtel got a little over $1.7million fine, and Glo got the least fine of over $1.4million just for two months of quality of service breaches.

The four players also ran the risk of paying additional $15,902 daily if they did not pay their respective fines before Monday, May 21, 2012.

In Ghana, five operational telecoms companies (minus Glo then) were fined a total of GH¢1.2 million ($638,767) for poor quality of service over a period of three months last year, and it generated hue and cry among the companies. They argued that the fines were too heavy.

But MTN and Airtel, which were among those fined in Ghana last year, are each paying fines in Nigeria up to four times (for just two months) what all five players put together paid in Ghana for three months of failing to meet QoS KPIs.

Glo’s fine in Nigeria, which was the lowest, is also more than twice what all five players paid in Ghana last year.

MTN Nigeria was reported to have blamed the quality of service breaches partly on poor power supply, vandalisation of its facilities (several fibre cuts and theft) due to poor security, and multiple regulatory taxations, and appealed to the Regulator to also help in dealing with some of those issues.

The challenges cited by MTN Nigeria, particularly fibre cuts and theft, were no different from what the companies in Ghana also cited as part of the factors that affected quality of service.

Ghana’s industry regulator and government are on record as saying they were working to deal with some of those challenges, particularly the numerous arbitrary charges by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) on installation of equipment to improve quality of service, and issues of right of way to install infrastructure, particularly fibre.

By Samuel Dowuona

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