NCC to write Telcos over poor coverage in North-East

The Nigerian Communications Commission says it will write to telecom operators to explain why their coverage of communities affected by insurgency in the North-East is still below 35 per cent.

The Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Danbatta, spoke at the fourth edition of NCC’s Telecom Consumer Conversation village square dialogue in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, on Friday.

Stakeholders in the region decried the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency on telecommunications infrastructure in the region, saying mobile telephone coverage in the region was yet to attain the level it was before the insurgency.

They noted that the insurgency led to the destruction of physical and telephony infrastructure supporting the provision of telecommunications service in their areas.

The VSD had the theme, ‘Know your rights as telecom consumers’, where the stakeholders asked the Telcos to address the challenge of access and GSM communication coverage created by the insurgency.

At the dialogue, representatives of the service providers operating in the state disclosed that due to the impact of the insurgency, telecommunications coverage in the region had fallen below 35 per cent.

They lamented the challenge of network coverage to many communities which they claimed were initially covered by the telcos but no longer had access as a result of the insurgency.

A telecom consumer from Gombi, Abubakar Saleh, said telecom coverage in the northern axis of Adamawa worst hit by insurgency remained poor.

Alkasim promised that the NCC as a regulator was willing to address the challenge together with the telcos.

He stated, “Since we have confirmed from the service providers that their coverage of communities affected by insurgency is still below 35 per cent, we are going to write to them to explain why telecommunications coverage in the region is still poor.”

He however said the telcos would require guarantees from government to invest in network expansion in the region.

He added, “It is only natural that the telcos would want guarantees from the government that the areas are safe for them to return and rebuild those destroyed base stations in areas like Mubi, Gombi and other places without network service. But if the government cannot offer such guarantees it would hamper the commitment of the telcos to make any investment to expand network coverage in those areas.”

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