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Subscribers lose N31bn in drop calls to telecom operators

By on February 4, 2013

On a rough estimate, Nigerian subscribers may have spent well over N31.02bn on dropped and unconnected calls since January last year, owing to poor quality of services from the telecom operators. Most networks in the country claim to have upgraded their network to 3G and 4G that never deliver services. Nigerians using ipad are worse off as downloads are so frustrating that in a day, a subscriber may not be able to connect or download music or video.

This figure of N31.02 billion was roughly estimated from the Average Revenue Per User, ARPU spending of 102.3 million subscribers (as at June last year) which amounted to about N103.4 bn, in relation to an opinion poll conducted by this reporter which saw many subscribers claiming that 30 per cent of their call costs were wasted.

From major part of last year, mostly during the yuletide period and even till now, telecom subscribers in the country have had to resort to hanging on the trees and roof tops to  complete their calls. The only time this was the case was at the early stage of GSM operation in Nigeria in 2001 when the networks were just building. Then, in addition to hanging on the trees, Nigerians resorted to high antennas to receive strong signals and incidentally, many buildings and other structures were dotted with embarrassing poles, antennas that did not beautify the Nigerian air space.

The situation compelled the operators into making massive investments in network and backbone infrastructure that launched the country into the top spot of African telecom market and spiralled into branding Nigeria as one of the fastest emerging markets in the world.

Although the quality of service after the investments cannot be described as perfect, subscribers lament that call completion has never been as bad.

30 per cent call costs wasted?
Although the operators have given both human and natural causes of the problem, the reality is that subscribers are still at the receiving end, spending hard earned money on calls that did not deliver value. In fact, it is believed that over 30 per cent of call costs in recent times are wasted in either dropped calls or entirely unconnected calls.

Nigerian subscribers, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, hit 102.3 million mark as at June last year, with an Average Revenue Per User, ARPU, of N1.011 and spent about N103.4 bn in call cost within that period.

If 30 per cent of this is wasted, like many subscribers have alleged, that means that about N31.02b was wasted on calls that did not connect or deliver value.