24
Sat, Jun

Telcos are short-changing Ghanaians

Unfortunately, even though the mobile operators have achieved their goal of wide coverage and more reliable networks which come with profitability, customers have had to bear the brunt of regular poor services.

Ghana is said to have about 140 per cent mobile phone penetration and this is mainly because it has become fashionable for some people living in Ghana to carry two or three phones with them with different subscriber identification module (SIM) cards.

For a country of about 28 million, the total number of mobile voice subscriptions was 39.23 million as of the end of February this year. This high mobile phone penetration could only, rightly so, arm our neighbours to make fun of us, that Ghana is a country where there are more mobile phones than human beings.

The reason this is so is the poor telecommunication services which have been with us since the days when we had only a fixed line network operator. Having wallowed in the wilderness with burgeoning technologies such as the analogue telecom services, the cellular Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication came in handy to improve coverage, reliability and convenience.

Unfortunately, even though the mobile operators have achieved their goal of wide coverage and more reliable networks which come with profitability, customers have had to bear the brunt of regular poor services.

In many rural areas, customers have to stand in particular areas, usually of a higher altitude, before they can make or receive calls.

But there are technologies on the shelves that make it easier for telecom companies to upgrade their systems faster and at costs far cheaper than the traditional modules.

A random nationwide cross-sectional survey the Daily Graphic conducted last month indicated that subscribers were not happy with telecom service providers as call drops, call breaks, internet interruption and network congestion, among other issues, continue to bog down service delivery in mobile telephony.

When it comes to putting the telcos on their toes, the Daily Graphic thinks that the regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA), has been treating them with kid gloves. If even acute hunger cannot be an excuse for theft, it baffles us how the supposed challenges in the environment could be used to explain why services remain poor.

We want to remind the industry, especially the regulator, that Ghanaians and telecom customers in general, have been very patient with the industry as its evolution was saddled with untold inconveniences.

From purchasing SIM cards at exorbitant prices to sluggish internet services and generally expensive call charges, one would have thought that the subscribers have sacrificed enough to warrant superior services.

Perhaps it boils down to the absence of any strong and formal customer protection agency to advocate and champion good customer services in the Ghanaian economy.

For now, the Daily Graphic believes that service companies, including telcos, are taking their customers for granted and it is about time something was done to achieve excellence in service delivery across the industry.