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Nigeria: Consumers Lament Poor Service Quality, Customer Care
Source: This Day
Source Date: Monday, October 01, 2012
Country: Nigeria
Created: Oct 01, 2012

A loud outcry over poor service quality and shabby customer care treatment, took the centre stage at the First National Telecoms Subscribers Summit organised by the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) in Lagos at the weekend. Telecoms subscribers, who attended the summit, had all the opportunities to question telecoms operators, the regulator and government agencies responsible for the protection of consumer rights in the country, on issues bothering on poor service quality, shabby treatments received while engaging customer care lines, and indiscriminate tariff charges across networks. Subscribers who spoke from different perspectives, frowned on the services of network service providers in several areas of their operations, and equally commended some operators in other areas of their operations. They complained of difficulties encountered whenever they tried reaching out to MTN customer care line, but commended Airtel for the ease of getting across to its customer care line, with just few dials. MTN was commended for its varieties of promos and bonuses, but its policy whereby bonus airtime was restricted to only MTN to MTN calls, was quick to be faulted. Etisalat was commended for its innovative value added services, but knocked for its inability to spread to remote parts of the country. Globacom was commended for its introduction of per second billing, but was knocked for disparity in its tariff plans. In all, consumers blamed operators for poor service quality, which they said, was already affecting business in the country. They called on operators to come up with lasting solution to the continuous drop in service quality across networks. Responding to consumers' reactions, Director, Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, said he was pleased with the various reactions that emanated from the summit, explaining the planned take-off of number portability by December this year, will address over 70 per cent of subscribers' challenges. Ojobo, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said the commission had concluded plans to launch number portability by December this year. He explained that it would afford consumers the choice of migrating from one network to another if dissatisfied with the service of one operator. He added that number portability would bring about healthy competition in the system and address several challenges currently being faced by consumers. Director General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC) who was represented by Mr. Abiodun Obimuyiwa, assured consumers of adequate protection of their interests in matters relating to consumers. In his welcome address, National President of NATCOMS, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said the essence of the summit was to bring together, consumers, operators and the regulatory body, to address various challenges affecting the rights of consumers in the telecoms industry. Responding to consumers' complaints, General Manager, Regulatory Affairs for MTN, Mrs. Oyeronke Oyetunde said MTN invested heavily in network expansion and that the company was still investing, in order to provide best service quality to consumers. She explained that MTN had reduced tariffs through its various value added services that are on-going. Explaining some of the challenges of MTN, Oyetunde said MTN suffers over 70 fibre cuts every month, which she said, affects smooth network operations. Representative of Airtel, Mr. Ademola Folarin, said the operator spends over N400 million on its customer care monthly, and promised that it would continue to invest in customer care in order to provide the best of service. Globacom and Etisalat pledged to improve on their service offerings to customers.
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