In Niger, the regulatory authority for electronic communications and the post (ARCEP) has decided on financial penalties against the four (4) mobile telephone companies operating in the country for persistent “failures” in their service offers, despite warnings, according to this authority.
These penances undertaken against Celtel Niger (Airtel); Zamani; Moov Africa Niger and Niger Telecom were made public by the President of the National Council for the Regulation of Electronic Communications and Post (CNRCEP), Mrs. Béty Aichatou Habibou Oumani during a press briefing she hosted, this Monday, July 17, 2023, in Niamey.
“In view of the persistence of the quality of service problems observed among all operators, despite the formal notices sent to them, ARCEP has decided to use its power of sanction defined through article 13 of law 2018-47”, declared the President of CNRCEP, adding that “operators are sanctioned to pay the amounts to the national treasury” in accordance with the height of their turnover for the previous year.
It is thus, she said, that CELTEL Niger is ordered to pay 1.33% of its turnover, i.e. one billion three hundred and fifty-seven million six hundred and eighty-six thousand one hundred and fifty-two (1,357,686,152) CFA francs; MOOV AFRICA Niger 1.17% of turnover, i.e. four hundred and two million four hundred and ninety-nine thousand five hundred and seventy-two (402,499,572) CFA francs; Niger Télécoms 2.38% of turnover, i.e. one billion one hundred and ninety-seven million four hundred and twenty-two thousand one hundred and twenty-eight (1,197,422,128) CFA francs and ZAMANI COM 2.33% of turnover, i.e. one billion, three hundred and sixty-three million, four hundred and six thousand, one hundred and ninety-two (1,363,406,192) CFA francs.
These sanctions, indicates the President of the CNRCEP, are the consequence of non-compliance with the texts in force by these companies within the framework of their offers.
According to Ms. Béty, it all started with a campaign to verify compliance by operators with their obligations published by the regulations of the sector.
Thus, she informed, ARCEP organized over the period from January 14 to May 9, 2022, a campaign to control the quality of service offered by mobile networks in the localities of Agadez, Balleyara, Birni N’gaoure, Doutchi, Dosso, Madaoua, Maradi, Niamey, Tahoua, Tillaberi, Zinder and Konni.
“Following this check, it emerged that all mobile telephone operators in Niger as a whole did not comply with certain requirements of Decision No. 12/ARCEP/CNRCEP/21 of December 10, 2021,” said the Nigerien official, according to whom “the finding of this failure led the Regulatory Authority to issue a formal notice to these operators for decisions taken by the CNRCEP on August 31, 2022”.
“These decisions were amended and supplemented on October 21, 2022 in order to adapt the period for formal notice to the nature of the corrections of non-compliance required from operators”, she added.
According to the source, these failures concern: the coverage of 2G/3G/4G networks (outdoor, incar and indoor); voice quality of service on 2G and 3G networks (blocking rate, loss rate and hearing quality of calls), routing of emergency calls (15, 17 and 18).
The breaches were also observed on the quality of SMS service in free 2G/3G/4G/4G mode (Success rate for sending, receipt success rate and average receipt period which must not exceed 15S) The quality of internet service on the 2G/3G/4G network (success rate of access to the web, file of file for sending files, rate of downloading of file, average file of file, Bety.
“Thus, a period of four (4) months from August 31, 2022 was granted to the operators to correct the failures observed. At the end of this period, the Regulatory Authority carried out over the period from January 9 to March 20, 2023, a new campaign of measurements in the localities, with a view to verifying whether the shortcomings noted have been corrected by the operators, “recounted Ms. Béty.
“The results of this second measurement campaign highlighted to varying degrees the persistence of non-compliance among all operators and in all the following localities, namely Agadez, Balleyara, Birni N’gaoure, Doutchi, Dosso, Madaoua, Maradi, Niamey, Tahoua, Tillaberi, Zinder and Konni”.
This is why, she explained, the regulator has decided to sanction in accordance with the regulations governing the sector, conferring on the regulatory authority the mission of ensuring strict compliance with the laws and regulations in force, but also with the obligations contained in the operators’ specifications.
Beyond their shortcomings vis-à-vis the law, as underlined by the sectoral authorities, the operators of electronic communications are major contributors to the national economy.
In 2022, these four (4) companies recorded a turnover of two hundred and seventy-eight billion six hundred and five million nine hundred and forty-one thousand one hundred and forty-three (278,605,941,143) FCFA, an increase of 4% compared to 2021, underlines an ARCEP report.