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TCRA on spot over mobile call congestion

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #1
    Nov 6, 2011
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    [TD="class: contentheading, width: 100%"]TCRA on spot over mobile call congestion [/TD]
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    [TD="class: createdate"] Saturday, 05 November 2011 23:18 [/TD]
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    By Songa wa Songa and Alawi Masare
    The Citizen Reporters
    Dar es Salaam.

    Tanzania could be facing an unprecedented mobile telephony crisis, with the regulatory authority apparently caught napping on its oversight role on service providers.Mobile subscribers in the country are currently estimated at 21 million and last year alone grew by 20 per cent. Customers are now lamenting that they are undergoing one of the worst service interruptions since the telecommunications sector was liberalised several years ago.
    Quality service by the mobile service companies across the board has dipped amid stiff competition and frustrated customers who cannot complete calls or receive them uninterrupted are seething that nobody appears to be concerned with their plight.

    The mobile companies, they lament, have become big-headed, are utterly unmindful of customer complaints and not showing any urgency to end the problem and raise the quality of services commensurate with earnings.

    The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is courting a high risk of being mud-slung, following revelations that it has not carried out any Quality Survey (QS) on any of the service providers since it was established to play the watchdog role.

    This revelation will likely add to TCRA’s woes in a week that a Parliamentary Committee ordered it to be investigated over suspicious expenditure amounting to billions of shillings in tax payers’ money.

    A recent World Bank report on the deep penetration of mobile companies in the communications sector in Africa hinted that not many governments had done a thorough study on investors to ensure they were giving services commensurate with the number of respective subscribers and to also justify the super profits they were generating.

    Companies that dominate the local market are about 10, and include Vodacom with the largest market share (43 per cent), Airtel (28 per cent), Tigo (21 per cent), Zantel (eight per cent), TTCL Mobile (one per cent), Sasatel (0.12 per cent) and Benson Informatics (0.01 per cent).

    Feedback by The Citizen on Sunday enquiries to the companies shows that TCRA had indeed not undertaken Quality Survey, and that all it had done was to ensure firms did not interfere with one another’s frequencies, living the door open for consumers’ neglect or exploitation.

    Some companies have come out to defend theirperformance even as experts in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) told The Sunday Citizen the nation could be headed for a major crisis as infrastructure is overwhelmed by the huge subscriber base.

    A TCRA who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t the institution’s official spokesperson, attributed the deteriorating mobile phone calling services to the current power crisis and alleged preferential treatment by the service providers between low and high airtime consumers. Efforts to get reactions from senior directors on the matter didn’t succeed.

    However, while at least Airtel admitted the power crisis was a factor, the experts added much more serious reasons, including the charge that the service providers have been wanting in levels of investments.

    The firms also came under attack for encouraging stiff subscriber competition that further constrained their capacity, despite the World Bank report ranking Tanzania among the top African markets that have recently attracted huge investments in telecommunications.
    The country ranks seventh in attracting telecoms investments with $1.4 billion (about Sh2, 240 trillion) injected between 1998 and 2008, according to the World Bank.

    “The explosion of tablets and Smartphone on the scene makes more demands and operators are struggling to cope with demands for increasing bandwidth across a limited spectrum. Landing of undersea cables and deployment of 3G and 4G technologies in various African countries is only going to exacerbate the increasing demand for data services,” reads part of the recently-released Africa Mobile Report 2011.

    In an interview, the Vodacom’s senior head of operations, Mr Andrew Lupembe, confirmed TCRA had not undertaken any Quality Survey with the firm. He however noted that Vodacom undertook its own assessments in the areas of Availability, Call set-up success rate and Drop call.

    Mr Lupembe said the cost for network towers, each costing Sh400 million was exorbitant while the long time it took to order and assemble meant local competition disadvantaged some players.

    “This could lead to possible imbalance between the capacity and the usage.”
    Mr Lupembe also raised concern over the concentration of operators in big cities without adequately investing in expansion to upcountry areas. But Airtel Corporate and Communications manager Beatrice Singano said the firm’s current utilisation was within the installed capacity, with a threshold of 60 per cent. She said they have recently embarked on an extensive Network roll out with additional 200 sites since beginning of the year.

    She blamed multi siming (use of two or more lines), power shortage in parts of the country for the current congestion problem while denying promotions run by the firm could also be contributing. She said Airtel’s outsourcing model from leading networks was meant to provide superior coverage.

    Tigo, which appears to be facing the biggest headache, did not respond to queries sent to the firm over three weeks ago. Officials have also been evasive to grant interviews. Most of its clients have taken into the internet chartrooms to poor their frustrations with the firm whose promotions for cheap rates landed millions of subscribers.

    On the side of experts, Infotech CEO Ali Mufuruki said the fact that customers were not getting value for their money was reason enough to raise the alarm.

    “There is no dispute that mobile phone services are not as we expected and that means something is wrong,” he said and added: “Slow connectivity and call drops have become a norm and there is no exception as one is caught both ways; either in the network from which you are calling or the destination of the call.”

    Mr Mafuruki said it was the responsibility of TCRA to ensure that mobile phone services were up to the required standards and challenged the authority to do its work and prevent a crisis.

    He added that it would also help if Tanzanians formed consumer protection agencies not only for mobile phone users but other areas with substantial numbers of consumers and impact in the people’s lives and economy.

    WIA Group CEO Erick Mwenda said the congestion was now a reality. “They must have underestimated the role of data services such as money transfer, mobile internet and SMS which, in my opinion are affecting the accessibility and quality of voice,” he said.

    Mr Mwenda said given the quality and quantity of ‘experts’ that TCRA has, it was strange that there had been no action taken by the institution so far. “It is shocking that the situation is the way it is and life goes on as if there is nothing unusual; this can be very frustrating,” he said.
    The University of Dar es Salaam Computing Centre deputy managing director, Dr Respickius Casmir, said based on the evidence on the ground, Tanzania was facing a mobile phone congestion crisis.

    “Things are worse here around the University of Dar es Salaam and my take is that usage has surpassed capacity. The ‘not reachable’ thing is now the response for the phones, and the undelivered SMSs are charged.”

    On TCRA, Dr Casmir said the regulator must do what it was supposed to do and ensure that Tanzanians enjoyed quality services.
    “They have a lot of theories and appealing strategic plans but that is not what wananchi want; they should take service providers to task and ensure high quality mobile phone services in the country,” he stressed.

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  2. Inkoskaz

    Inkoskaz JF-Expert Member

    #2
    Nov 6, 2011
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    duh! Waongeze madigit yawe 8.au ndio mitambo yao imefikia technology limit?
     
  3. Ndahani

    Ndahani JF-Expert Member

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    Tcra si bado wanasomesha vijana wao watatu kuja kurekebisha mambo ndo maana ada yao mpaka sasa ni zaidi ya 2bilion
     
  4. b

    babubui Member

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    Ikiwa TCRA ni waangalizi waliogeuka watazamaji inabidi nayo itafutiwe mwangalizi au iundiwe tume? Imefika wakati menejimenti zote zinazonekana zinalegalega zipewe contract. Tunakoelekea ni kwamba tutalumbana wakati dawa ni management by contract. Mbona tutawatimua wengi tu. Kwa sasa kama alivyowahi kunene raisi wa awamu iliyopita - tunawaonea wivu tu na tumezowea kulalamika.
     
  5. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Nov 7, 2011
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    Wapo wapo tu wanalipana mishahara na marupurupu lukuki huku congestion ikizidi kuharibu mawasiliano ya simu.
     
  6. moto ya mbongo

    moto ya mbongo JF-Expert Member

    #6
    Nov 7, 2011
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    Hii ishu ni very serious tunashukuru wanajamvi wa JF kwa kutuhabarisha
     
  7. Inkoskaz

    Inkoskaz JF-Expert Member

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    Nov 7, 2011
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    sasa hivi huwezi kuongea na simu bila kukatika tena baada ya kuipata kwa tabu.huduma za money transactioo ndo kila siku utasikia server ipo down
     
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