Telecom Data Service: Are Consumers Being Cheated?
By Amaka Akachukwu
The current situation of internet communication services in Nigeria is quite disheartening. Despite the billions of money invested into network expansion by telecommunication operators, subscribers are pummeled with frustrating experiences at every turn. According to reports, the Nigerian economy is currently losing about N730 Billion from poor internet service delivery.
Calls get disconnected at random. It takes unduly long time for calls to connect even within the same room; not to talk of the how long it takes for messages to deliver. All these network glitches have their direct adverse impact on the overall quality of services provided by these operators to their customers. Despite all these billing imperfections, it is often an uphill task getting assistance from customer support centers. All these are the issues telecom users face on a daily basis.
But the most telling of these frustrations in recent times must be subscribers to data service. Businesses have suffered unduly due to the lack of proper and stable internet connection, subscribers pay for services which they cannot adequately enjoy its benefits and at the end of the month, their money is wiped out. Head or tail, it seems, the telcos win
Only yesterday, Airtel Nigeria sent a message across to all its subscribers saying effective from December 3rd, its BIS plans will cease to function on BB10 smartphones, Android and modems. With N1, 600 one could subscribe for 3G which would ordinarily last a month. Despite their often frustratingly poor service delivery, subscribers still stuck with them, because it was quite affordable, and was a better deal compared with what other telecom service providers offered; but with recent changes, that won’t be possible anymore.
For those who use a Smartphone, to subscribe for the least data bundle now with Airtel, one would have to pay N3000 for 1GB which is supposed to last for 30 days; that can barely be sufficient and is quite expensive. It is very evident that their recent data plan subscriptions, it will leave a very big hole in the pockets of many subscribers.
Services that used to be unlimited are now limited, and investigations show that this drastic change cuts across to all telecom service providers. Operators claim to have sunk billions of Dollars of investment into their networks in the hope that they will attract customers and keep them. One would have thought that the more subscribers they get the cheaper services would become but in Nigeria, economic theories seem to work in reverse.
- Are the telecom companies being fair to subscribers in Nigeria?
- Is NCC doing enough to ensure a fair deal for subscribers?
- What is the way out for seamless and affordable delivery of telecom services?