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The number of people around the world who will pick up the phone today and make a call is staggering. Yet their goal is to communicate, which means they need to hear, and be heard, clearly.
Poor service provision by mobile operators is generally considered to be a result of lack of investment in network upgrades and has become a source of concern in many African countries where customers are losing money on uncompleted calls.
Call-rate reductions have produced nothing but congested and unreliable networks as customers can now afford to speak longer for less. Question is, do operators meet service quality levels in Africa?
I strongly think that all promotions aimed at maintaining or attracting new customers should be banned except where adequate capacity is provided by the networks.
Awarding licenses to several operators’ results in stiffer competition, which may bring down the cost of services, but tends to significantly slow down investments in the networks for better services. Governments in Africa should formulate laws that give exclusive powers to punish erring service providers.
As in Southern Africa, Zambian service providers have been failing to meet the 95 percent call-rate-completion service level set by the regulator. The penalty that can be charged to mobile service providers for offering poor services to consumers in Zambia is US$250 per affected user.
Authorities in Africa have to take drastic measures to tackle the ongoing poor service quality in the telecoms sector. Operators who do not have adequate capacity to accommodate increasing number of subscribers must be asked to stop new registration, so that they can provide better services to the existing subscribers.
So, having forced down prices, more people are making calls. The demand on networks has been increased. So, people get drop calls in one way or the other because of congestion. It can only be solved by extra investment in the network. It is not an overnight issue. You cannot improve quality of service without investing more in the network.