ANALYSIS: Despite Insurgency In North-East Nigeria, MTN, Airtel Maintain Good Network Quality

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Despite 11 years of insurgency and attacks on people, residences and public infrastructure, MTN Nigeria and Airtel have maintained quality network service in North-East Nigeria.

The latest data obtained by BizWatch Nigeria from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that in the first four months subscribers to telecommunication services in Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe and Borno States experienced a great quality of service from MTN and Airtel.

The NCC data indicated that the MTN and Airtel ticked all the four major Key Performance Indicators – Dropped Call Rate (DCR), Standalone Dedicated Control Channel Congestion Rate (SDDCH), Traffic Control Channel Congestion Rate (TCCH) and Call Setup Success Rate (CSSR).

However, during the same period, subscribers to 9mobile experienced poor services such as dropped calls in some of the states while

Also, Globacom subscribers experienced many failed call attempts as measured by CSSR and poor signal which is measured by SDDCH in some states.

Telecoms Quality of Service In Borno, Bauchi, Gombe State

According to NCC statistics, MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile subscribers experienced good telecoms network service in January, February, March and April in Borno.

The industry regulator stated that all the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for dropped calls, SDDCH, TCCH and CSSR, were met by all the four mobile network operators.

BizWatch Nigeria also noticed the same trend in Bauchi and state as all the network providers met all the KPIs expected of them.

Checks also showed that subscribers enjoyed top-notch telecoms services in Gombe state in the period under review.

Borno, is the epicentre of terrorist attacks in Nigeria and mobile network providers have reported cases of destruction of their infrastructure as well as attacks and killing of workers providing Base Tranceiver Stations (BTS) maintenance services.

Many times, in the past, the GSM networks in the state were shut down by the military to slow down the communication of the Boko Haram who are spread in camps in the forest of Sambisa, Mafa, Wulgo and Kirenowa axis of Borno State.

This was after a state of emergency was declared by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 to curb the sophisticated attacks by the insurgents on targets in cities around Maiduguri, the capital of Borno.

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This was because the military believes Boko Haram’s campaign was largely aided by mobile phones, which the insurgents used for detonating explosives and sabotaging planned operations against them.

Telecoms Quality of Service In Adamawa State

Analysis of the NCC QoS report showed that MTN, Airtel and 9mobile measured up in all the KPI for quality telecoms services in Adamawa state from January to April this year.

However, Globacom fell short of the CSSR and SDDCH performance metrics in January and February this year.

Adamawa February 2021, Source: NCC

Telecoms Quality of Service In Taraba State

Bothe 9mobile and Globacom subscribers experienced poor quality of services in Taraba state starting from January to April this year.

In January, 9mobile did not meet up with the expected KPIs for CSSR and SDDCH in January and April.

Also, Globacom fell short of its performance in terms of CSSR, SDDCH and TCCH from January to April 2021.

However, MTN and Airtel offered their subscribers good network service in the first quarter of the year, according to NCC’s statistics.

Taraba, January 2021. Source: NCC

Telecoms Quality of Service In Yobe State

It was observed that 9mobile performed poorly in meeting the CSSR and TCCH performance indicators in Yobe state in January and February.

Also in April, the network provider did not measure up in the DCR and SDDCH indicators.

However, all other providers – MTN, Airtel and Globacom provided their subscribers with good quality network service from January to April in Yobe State.

Yobe April, 2021. Source: NCC

Destruction of Telecoms Infrastructure

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, had recently said vandalism, theft, fibre cuts and other issues are currently confronting telecom operations.

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He pointed out that only recently, insurgents attacked telecom facilities in Damaturu, Yobe State last year, saying that the infrastructure gaps will continue to widen due to such incidents.

A former Chief Executive Officer, Pan African Towers, Wole Abu,  had said that in the North-East, insurgency led to the destruction of some sites which his company had to rebuild.

According to him, his company rebuilt 35 sites in 2019 in the region.

“The insurgency affects the site; we have to build it back. We also bear the cost of the replacement. We are coping but it is getting worse,” he said.

“There are many sites that need military protection. That drives up our cost because we have to pay in areas like Borno, Taraba, Adamawa and Yobe states,” he added.

Abu called on the government to protect the business of telecom operators as their services were useful to all Nigerians, including the government.

Recent Boko Haram Attacks in North-East Nigeria

On Monday, March 1, 2021, there were reports of attacks by Boko Haram terrorists stormed Dikwa town, which is located about 86 kilometers (54 miles) from Maiduguri, the capital and largest city of Borno State, at around 6:30 p.m.

Residents told Anadolu News Agency that gunfights between security forces and terrorists ran for hours as the attack lasted until Tuesday morning.

They said the terrorists were chased away by military jets, but came back a few hours later and set ablaze a UN office, premises of several aids agencies, and a hospital.

Some officials of humanitarian organizations told Anadolu Agency they feared that some aid workers had been abducted in the attack.

The Nigerian Army spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Yerima said, “The troops decisively routed Boko Haram terrorists who attempted to infiltrate and attack Dikwa town in Borno State.”

About three million people have been displaced and 35,000 killed in over a decade of terror attacks in Nigeria, according to a UN report.

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator In Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, had in April said the attacks on some Borno towns affected aid workers and cut off in Borno State.

He said, “I am deeply concerned about the recent attacks on humanitarian operations in Dikwa and Damasak, affecting humanitarian assets and personnel. We have temporarily suspended operations in these areas in order to safely relocate humanitarian staff and are closely monitoring the situation.

“We intend to resume operations as soon as possible, so that civilians affected by the conflict continue to receive the assistance they need.  
“I condemn in the strongest terms attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure which may constitute violations on International Humanitarian Law.”

About Author

Ife Ogunfuwa is an award-winning reporter who is versed in reporting business and economy, technology, gadgets reviews, telecoms, tax, and business policy review, among others. She loves telling stories behind the numbers. She has professional certifications in business and financial reporting. You can reach her via – [email protected]

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