Elusive Excellence In GSM Service Arnold Alalibo

Do you ever find yourself in a dismal situation when you need to make an exigent call on your phone but denied network connection? Or it connects but you can hardly decipher or comprehend what the person at the other end of the call says?

Well, it is the customary poor customer services millions of Nigerian subscribers to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) have always gnawed. It is a grim reminder of the abysmal failure of telecommunications services in the country.

Many challenges are associated with mobile phones and such challenges are quite legion and recurrent. While mobile network providers are continuously expanding and installing new masts to grapple with an increasing task, the frustration doesn’t seem to be letting up.

Hapless Nigerians have inveighed and cried their eyes out in every way possible but all their clamour keep falling on inanities of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), the two regulatory agencies which are duty-bound to end the exploitation.

Some distraught Nigerians in the academia, professionals, non-governmental organisations, students, the business community have congregated at conferences, town halls, symposia, among others, to proffer solutions to the bred-in-the-bone poor network problem.

Rather, the knots are retrograding as subscribers constantly get unsolicited promotion messages, experience poor data services, truncated calls, exorbitant tariffs, undelivered text messages, poor audio quality, etc.

It is a surprise that NCC would defend such ineffectual investors by attributing the constant breakdown of network to over-dependence on mobile phones by Nigerians whose use of the device grows by leaps and bounds. This is a gloomy picture being painted. I wonder what the prospects of the industry will be hereafter.

Granted that Nigerians consume GSM services at a high progression, how is that an excuse for failure? What are the providers here to do? Is it not to do business? Then it simply follows that the more the over-dependence, the more the money and the profits. The larger the subscriber base, the more the monetary expediency and corporate efficiency.

In other climes where there are keen competitions for excellence, citizens are left with at least a choice. Unfortunately, Nigerians are devoid of this luxury. Since all the network providers operate in shared incompetence, consumers are left with no option but to patronise one of the crippled services.

It is sad. While subscribers complain and wail, operators smile to the bank with their millions. Thereafter, they pontificate system upgrades which are normally used as excuses for temporary disruption of services yet, relinquishing us in the mess.

If so much is invested in the business as claimed, why the endless poor services? It only demonstrates that the investments are purported or, at best, failed to impact on the quality of their services. This should cause a big worry for the investors themselves if they truly uphold high ethical standards in their operations.

It is clear that we are taken for granted over all sectors because our government doesn’t care a hoof and, accordingly, does nothing to ensure that Nigerians are treated with dignity and fairness by business owners.

There are service providers who think that Nigerians are undeserving of the best and this is not limited to them. That is why whenever multinational firms have to deploy staff to the country, it is the uncultured, poorly-trained and incompetent hands that are sent, many of whom despise the same Nigerians who are the wealth creators for their businesses.

We have a duty to get service providers to work harder and realise that our people deserve better service delivery or quit. They must respond to the clarion call to institutionalise excellence in service and ensure that their operations are customer-centred.

Besides the poor services syndrome that plague the sector, many Nigerians are ailed by the deplorable actions of some workers in the sector. It is expedient that service providers come to terms with this fact and orientate their workers to imbibe acceptable conduct.

In all, both NCC and CPC must stop the trading in hypocrisy and reticence and rise to their obligations to the nation by effectively regulating the telecommunications sector to end the sustained fleecing of Nigerians.

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