GSM operators blame NCC for interference, bad services

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The NCC promised to address the concerns raised

 

Telecommunication Companies in Nigeria have called on the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, to address channel interference issues, which they say, are weighing down on their productivity and quality of service.

The operators made this known in Lagos on Tuesday at a consultative forum on engineering and emerging technologies organised by the Commission.

The two day forum, themed “Microwave frequency management and deployment in Nigeria: Challenges and the way forward” was aimed at creating an avenue where the regulatory body can meet with the telecoms companies to address industry issues and also ponder on the microwave frequency deployment.

Channel interference occurs when one network disrupts another from running a service successfully on a particular channel. At the long run, none of the operators may have their operations go through successfully via the channel.

A representative of Etisalat, Olatayo Olalere, said when the company came on board, even channels they were given officially by the regulatory body was already in use by existing operators.

“The channels allocated to us by the NCC were already in use by the operators. We faced a lot of challenges because channels have already been allocated on a first-come first-serve basis and that has never favoured us.

“We have always had to switch off for everybody whenever channel interference issues come up” he said, adding that such inconsistencies could be on for as much as one week putting the organisation on the receiving end.

He said Etisalat would want the timeline in resolving these interference issues to be reduced to the minimum. He also recommended that the NCC set up a set of guidelines to create a recognised framework for telecom tower co-allocation and that this should include standardisation of towers among others.

Mr. Olalere said the regulatory body could allocate the channels reserved for NITEL, as this would also ease the frequency of channel interferences by the telecoms, and that NCC should also consider allocating 56 Mega Hawts in place of the existing 28 Mega Hawts for better services.

“This would be very okay for us” he said.

The representative of MTN Nigeria, Segun Salami, also said interference affects most of their operations

The telecom operators questioned investments in microwave backbone when several channels are shut down due to interference from one operator or the other. They also urged the regulatory body to develop a central information database for the operators.

The regulatory body appreciated contributions from the operators, stating that the objective of the forum was to provide an avenue for stakeholders and users to ponder on potential problems and foster solutions to them.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Eugene Juwah, said the forum was for participants in the telecoms industry “to constructively exchange ideas.

“We all know that the issues of infrastructure sharing, right of way, interference, legal and regulatory framework for microwave resources deployment have been challenging,” he said.

Mr. Juwah, who was represented by Funlola Akiode, Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy, NCC, said at the end of the two-day forum, the regulatory body would have heard from the operators and stakeholders and would be seeking ways to address the issues raised.