The released plan which is part of phase one of the monitoring, indicates the regions the NCA will be conducting field QoS monitoring and the number of district capitals to be covered. Moble Network Operators (MNOs), per their licence, have an obligation to cover all district capitals and ensure that there is service availability in these areas. This follows a meeting the Authority had with the MNOs to discuss and implement measures on Quality of Service.
All the regions in Ghana will be monitored from March to May 2018; this phase will cover Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern and Western regions.
The service attributes to monitor include coverage obligations, voice quality and data quality as stated in their licence conditions and with specific key performance indicators (KPIs). All 3G licence holders are required to provide service in all 216 district capitals. MNOs were expected to meet and exceed their obligations in their licences.
Speaking to the issue, the Director General of the NCA, Mr Joe Anokye, said it was an obligation for both the regulator and the service provider to ensure that consumers are able to make and receive calls and as well, use data services in a convenient manner.
He said, communication services had become so pervasive that it is unimaginable to think of living one’s life and conducting business without having access to telecommunication services.
He referred to the NCA’s decision to permit MNOs with 2G licences to deploy universal mobile telecommunications systems (UMTS), which is a 3G technology, was to improve voice and data services in unserved and underserved communities across the country.
The Director General said per the plan, the results of the field monitoring would be shared with the MNOs for them to review and for reconciliation to be done. The reports would then be converted and shared with the public for them to know and understand the various issues affecting the delivery of quality of telecommunication services. In situations where the issue has to do with poor service due to unavailability of masts and towers or terrain, the community would be engaged to enable them understand the issues.
NCA will work with the MNOs to cure the identified gaps within a stated time frame and another monitoring would then be done to confirm if the issues have been resolved or otherwise and appropriate actions taken. These may include sanctions against the MNOs in fines or compensations to their customers.
The MNOs in their meeting with the NCA earlier this month, said that site acquisitions for masts and towers and rampant fibre cuts remained their biggest challenges.
Concluding, Mr Anokye said he was hopeful that these measures would result in improved service and enhance consumer satisfaction.
The NCA, was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 524 in December 1996, which has been repealed and replaced by the NCA Act, 2008 (Act 769). The authority is the statutory body mandated to license and to regulate electronic communication activities and services in the country.
NCA regularly monitors the performance of service providers alongside the extensive benchmarks for the QoS parameters stated in operator’s licence conditions. This performance monitoring exercises are conducted quarterly to enhance communications services. The authority tests all networks to measure compliance with stated QoS indicators for voice and data services.