The national telecom regulator, National Communication Authority, has sanctioned mobile phone network operators MTN and Expresso to a fine of GH¢250,000 for failing to provide improved quality service to consumers, B&FT has gathered.

The sanction is based on findings on Quality of Service in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western Regions for February this year.

According to the regulator, MTN has been sanctioned to pay  GH¢150,000 for violating Quality of service standards — specifically Call Set up Time in Ashanti and Western Regions and Call Congestion, while Expresso has been given a suspended penalty of GH¢100,000 for defaulting in Call Set up Time in the aforementioned two regions.

As a result, Expresso has been directed to build a new site in Tarkwa to improve their coverage in the Municipality in lieu of a suspended penalty.

Meanwhile, Vodafone, Tigo and Airtel were found to be in compliance in the three regions on all parameters including the Call Set up Time, Call Congestion Rate and Call Drop Rates.

The NCA’s latest punitive action on network operators comes less than a week after the Authority raised a US$200,000 penalty on Glo for failing to roll-out its services three years after acquiring its licence.

The Director-General of the NCA, Paarock Van Percy who was recently recognised at the just-ended Ghana Telecom Award for his commitment to the telecom industry, explained that the Authority monitors and analyses the performance of mobile operators in the country every month to assess the user experience when using the mobile voice service in order to direct improvement in their Quality of Service (QoS).  

The monitoring also enhances NCA’s understanding of current problems faced by consumers to enable it work more closely with operators to improve customer experiences.

“NCA’s topmost priority is to provide best-in-class mobile services to consumers in line with its vision of creating and maintaining an efficient, transparent and business-friendly telecom environment to enable Ghana become the premier destination of ICT investment,” he said.

The actions by the country’s telecom regulator is a swift response to last week’s directive from the Minister of Commuication, Haruna Iddrisu, to the NCA — urging the Authority to reject excuses put forward telecom operators amidst continuing customer dissatisfaction with their services.

He said it is unacceptable and unjustified for operators to use challenges confronting the sector — including poor energy supply, fibre cuts and fuel-theft — as excuses for poor service delivery.

“I want the NCA to declare zero-tolerance for poor quality of service. All we ask the network operators to do with the infrastructure companies is to ensure service availability at all times.

“Telecommunication is no longer a luxury and must be treated as such. Therefore, when you (telecos) are investing to deploy your infrastructure, please ensure that it is reliable and dependable,” he said.

By Evans Boah-Mensah

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