For subscribers on the network of ntel, the 4G/LTE advanced operator, the last few weeks have been harrowing for them.
This is because ntel services have been down, owing to some challenges, including downtime at some of its Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) sites, it was learnt.
This challenge has resulted in very poor network connections and brought frustration to the teeming number of subscribers, who prior to this time, found solace, especially in nTel’s data offerings.
The challenge before ntel might be more, as it was gathered that some staff, including management ones might have resigned from the firm.
The beginning of the ntel story can be traced to the acquisition of core telecom assets previously owned by Nigeria’s national fixed and mobile operators- NiTel/MTel- by NatCom Development & Investment Ltd. (NatCom) in a liquidation process supervised and approved by Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises and a court-appointed liquidator.
This liquidation process was concluded in May, 2015 with NiTel/MTel core assets wholly transferred to NatCom.
Meanwhile, a visit to some of their business outlets at Ikeja, Yaba, Egbeda confirmed the network downtime, as some of the workers were seen sitting idle.
One of the staff in one of the outlets visited, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they have network downtime, “but our management is working on that.
It has been on for like two weeks now. So many customers have been coming, who needed one service or the other, but we couldn’t do anything for now.”
An official of nTel, Damian Udeh, who spoke via the telephone on Monday, admitted that there are challenges with the network, but explained that “the firm is doing network upgrade, systems changes and vendor transferals, among other, reasons for the bad service.
Everybody is complaining, we are aware and we are working on the challenge.
“It is just for a while; we shall soon complete some of the upgrade. Hopefully before the end of the month, all issues with the network would have been sorted out.
No major issue, except to revamp the network so that we can serve the customers better.
These things need to happen, I mean the upgrade. You know that we are not like the big operators, which when something happened to their networks, you will not feel it. We are just growing and gradually for that matter.
“Get me, it is not as if there is no network, it is just slow, but we are on the matter, “he stressed.
The President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, said ntel had been able to revolutionalise the data business in the sector, but it appeared they had slowed down on investment because “I expected them to spread faster and better to other part of the country and offer the very best of service, but give it to them in terms of data, they are playing a leading role in that space.
“I wasn’t expecting them to be having issues by now, especially with the coming of General TY Danjuma.
I expect them to be investing massively now, but unfortunately at the moment, I don’t think that is happening. I think it is insufficient funds that appears to be delaying their faster expansion plan and improved services.”
Earlier this year, during his interaction with journalists, the Chief Executive Officer, ntel, Ernest Akinlola, hinted of several expansion plans of the telecommunications firm.
Akinola, who said the company, increased its subscribers from about 60,000 last October to 120,000 at the end of February this year, disclosed that a combination of high-impact commercial initiatives brought about increase in subscriber acquisition and gross revenues in recent months.
Such initiatives, he said, included customer management, value added service (VAS) revenue drive, “where we have been making some passive revenue, enhanced return on investment (RoI), increased smartphone support, channel visibility and out of home as well as channel branding.”