MTN Ghana is up for another sanction by the National Communication Authority (NCA) for failing to meet the deadline on the submission of a comprehensive compensation plan for customers who were affected by recent major service interruptions.
MTN customers have for a while now been suffering grave service interruptions, and the company recently admitted to ADOMBUSINESS it was due to ‘hardware problems’ in the midst of network transformation. The problem became more serious last Tuesday and Wednesday, but residues of it still continues to haunt customers.
MTN duly informed the NCA about the problem on Tuesday, and the NCA later ordered MTN to provide a comprehensive compensation plan on Friday, August 16, 2013 for approval so MTN could properly compensate customers.
ADOMBUSINESS investigations indicate that till date MTN has still not submitted the compensation plan to the NCA and has also not given any official explanations for the delay.
A top official of the NCA told ADOMBUSINESS the delay from MTN is unacceptable and would definitely be sanctioned.
“The NCA is not like the Electoral Commission which gives grace period for meeting deadlines – there are clearly stated sanctions for failing to meet deadlines and those sanctions would duly apply to MTN,” he said.
The official also pointed out that MTN had been told not to give the usual 3minutes on-net (MTN to MTN) calls as compensation for the recent grave service interruptions, adding “they have been asked to give proper compensation to customers with the approval of the NCA and we will ensure they do exactly that.”
Whereas MT N has still not offered any official explanation for the delay, an official of MTN told ADOMBUSINESS the company the affected persons will surely be compensated but they needed to take their time to working on the plan properly to ensure that no affected person is shortchanged.
Meanwhile, this move by the NCA to compel MTN to give compensation rather contradicts a recent position by the NCA on a call by the Network of Communication Reporters (NCR) for a supervised compensation regime instead of the NCA fining telcos and spending the money for its operational cost while customers continued to suffer.
But the NCA official noted that whereas it is always not easy to determine who was affected by certain service interruptions, “this one from MTN is very easy to determine and MTN itself knows exactly which communities were affected so wholesale compensation will be easy to do.”
MTN’s Radio Access Planning Senior Manager, Reuben Opata had told ADOMBUSINESS about 15% of customers were affected mainly in Accra and a few other communities outside of the capital.
He said the hardware problem had been completely resolved so the further challenges may be due to the ongoing network transformation at the base stations, which involve replacement of equipment.
“We work in the night when traffic on the network is at its barest minimum but sometimes the challenge drags on into the early hours of the mornings,” he said.
Opata is assuring customers that the transformation is nearing completion and it would boost customer experience on the network when it done.
Meanwhile customers still complain of poor services, not only in the mornings, but throughout the day.