Telecoms’ service outage rattles Oyo,Lagos, Ogun
Unless there is urgent regulatory intervention, telephone users, banks, schools and other organisations relying on telecoms services for their daily operations in Ogun State and border areas to Ogun in Oyo and Lagos states are billed to experience one of the worse telecoms service experience in the coming weeks, New Telegraph has learnt.
The development is being caused by the decision of Ogun State authorities to shut down 25 telecoms towers over claims of operators’ refusal to fulfil some levy/tax obligations to the state government.
Following the closure the 25 base stations by Ogun State government, some of the services being impacted are voice and data services, voice traffic across other operators and international traffic and enterprise data service to third-party clients, mostly banks and other corporate clients.
The brewing service disruption to the banking operations as a result may, in turn, impact services such as Automated Teller Machine (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) and other activities relying wholly on telecoms networks backbone to function.
Two of the telecoms towers are hub/core sites, which several other sites have connected to, one close to Ogun/Lagos border line and the second located around Ogun/Ibadan border areas.
Already, the impact of poor quality of services is already being felt within Ogun State in areas such as Abeokuta, Kobape, Mowe-Ibafo, Ofada, Abule-Oju, Owode and Papalanto, among several others.
On the border towns between Lagos and Ogun, subscribers in such areas as Ikorodu, Sango-Otta, Ojodu-Berger, Akute and Alagbado, among others, are also facing the excruciating impact of this Ogun State’s action.
Greater parts of Ibadan are also feeling the impacts of the 25 base stations, whose operations have now gone down.
However, findings showed that though the state authorities sealed the affected stations, maintenance engineers who work as contractors to the telecoms operators still find their way to keep some of the sealed stations running by ‘jumping over the fence’ into the site areas to re-fuel their generators that power the sites, though an action considered criminal by the state – this has not restored effective service into the coverage area of those base stations.
National Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, confirmed the development at the weekend, just as comments could not be obtained from Ogun authorities on the issues as at the time of going to press.
But speaking to this newspaper on the development, Adebayo explained: “In recent times, we have been having the problem with the government of Ogun State on site approval payment and also what they grant rental rate payment and what has happened in the last system is such that most of our members who have services in that state have had some experience with the town planning authorities there. As at the last count, as at last Thursday (September 21), about 25 telecoms sites have been shut down by Ogun State government.
Two of those sites are hub sites, which provide services to neighbouring Oyo and part of Lagos and the impact of that is bad consumer experience. So it is better to see that this matter is resolved in a number of days.”
But Adebayo said apart from closing and reopening of sites, what was worrisome “is the trend of site closure due to the issue of revenue collection and I think these are the issues that should be clearly separated.”
He advised government agencies at all levels to stop seeing telecoms as cash-cow to boost their internally generated revenue (IGR).
“Let government look for how to boost their IGR by other means and not impacting on services that could have security implications, for the fact that there are no quality services on those states. As we speak, people there are passing through some kind of experience that they may not be able to report to security agencies.
“So, that is to underscore the need to have telecoms infrastructure classified as national security and economic infrastructure wherever nobody at any level of government will have the right to shut down sites. It is important.”
Meanwhile, Adebayo has described the on-going trend of site shutdown in the state as a repeat experience.