NCCApart from being the largest network by subscriber number as announced by the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the MTN network has been described as the most busy network in Nigeria.

A recent survey conducted by NOIPolls Limited, and released in its recent Annual Special Edition Telecoms Poll score sheets, showed that Nigerians placed MTN as the highest used network in the past two years (2012-2013) and even in the present times, even though subscription to its network has consistently declined within this period.

According to the MTN group, the decline has been mainly due to regulatory restrictions imposed by the NCC and growing spate of unrest by Boko Haram especially in the Northern part of Nigeria, where MTN suffered great loss of Base Transceiver Station (BTS) , otherwise known as base stations, due to deliberate damage on several of its BTS.

According to the report, other networks used by Nigerians that were ranked in the order of frequency usage, included; Airtel (45 per cent), Etisalat (33 per cent), Glo (28 per cent) and Visafone (1 per cent). The proportion of Airtel subscribers, which seemed steady from 2012 to 2013 at 39 per cent, picked up by 6-points in 2014 to 45 per cent, thus, making it the only network that has seen a considerable growth in the proportion of its users. This increase may have been driven by the discovery of the cheaper tariffs offered by the Airtel network compared with other networks, the report said.

More findings on the usage of phone lines revealed a higher proportion of subscribers, which is put at 76 per cent, use MTN as their main line. In addition, 15 per cent of mobile network subscribers indicated Airtel as their main line, five per cent indicated Glo, while 4 percent of subscribers use Etisalat as their main line. An assessment of the services provided by network providers revealed that a higher proportion of 64 per cent of mobile phone users across all networks are getting value for money from their main network provider through the ‘quality of network services at 27 per cent, bonus offers at 25 per cent and cheaper tariff at 23 per cent, among others.

The NOIPolls survey report also revealed that a higher proportion of Nigerians use two phone lines either registered under one network provider or under two different ones. This trend, the report said, has been consistent from 2012 to 2014.
The NOIPolls conducted its special edition poll on the telecommunications sector in Nigeria, to explore the current state of the sector from the perspective of consumers. The poll sought to measure the mobile phone usage patterns in Nigeria, quality of services provided by telecommunications providers and recommendation to improve the quality of services.

The result presented is the third in series of annual telecommunication polls conducted by NOIPolls, and the first was conducted in 2012.
The opinion poll was conducted in the week of 17th November 2014, using the survey method. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1000 randomly selected phone users aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed.

NOIPolls Limited is known for country specific polling services in West Africa, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria.

mtn_telecomAccording to MTN, the company has conveyed its sincerest apologies to customers that may have been affected by service disruptions in the last two weeks.

According to the network, as MTN adapts to meet the increasing quality and capacity demands on the network, significantly re-engineer its network in certain parts of the country to ensure that it is of an acceptable standard and is capable of satisfying their needs of the customers.

“The adjustments were many and they included reviewing how we can optimally utilise the existing spectrum, which entailed re-configuring the current allocation of our spectrum. This exercise is aimed at providing customers with improved coverage and quality of experience”, says Eben Albertyn – Chief Technology Officer at MTN SA.

Further to this review, a technology refresh of parts of the network took place, which included upgrading the technology level of our equipment; this resulted in intermittent service disruptions being experienced in and around metro areas.

Load shedding also exacerbated our disruptions. It must be noted that in the event of a power failure, MTN base station are powered by batteries or generators. The majority of the network sites use batteries for backup. These batteries have a limited backup time, and recharging them takes time. Furthermore several hundred sites have been vandalised and batteries have been stolen in recent months. Where possible, MTN has been deploying these batteries to all sites to alleviate the impact of power outages. However, MTN has not been able to cover 100% of its sites yet.

‘We are working tirelessly to ensure there is minimal impact on services and are planning for a speedy completion. We are aware that the demand will spike over the festive season and we remain confident that these interventions will bolster our capacity to meet expected traffic,” adds Albertyn.

There were a number of MTN customers who migrated from Nashua Mobile who also experienced connectivity problems on November 25. These customers were inadvertently disconnected, however services were restored on the same day.

“MTN apologises to its customers for any inconvenience caused during this time,” concluded Albertyn.