FEATURE: Challenges of drop calls

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The challenges of drop calls in the country has reached an alarming stage as it has continued unabated. In this write-up, our Correspondent Gift Habib examined the regulatory requirement viz-a viz occurrence of drop calls in the country.  

The issue of drop calls has become a normal occurrence and there seems to be no end insight as it has gotten to a point where one can hardly complete any conversation without experiencing drop-call. 

Dropped call rate is defined as the rate of calls that end due to technical reasons and its probability as drop-call probability, which the regulators and monitor agents used to provide a measure of performance for failed calls in progress.

It became so worrisome to a point where in 2019, the Senate had to summon the management of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and operators over the high rate of dropped calls, yet the perennial problem is still with us in a high frequency.

For mobile phone users, this has become a normal thing and therefore they are continually at the mercy of telecom operators who do not see anything wrong with the system or don’t just care as there are no consequences.

But the  Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta gave an insight to what should be the normal practice given the regulatory requirement that is acceptable from Mobile Network Operators regarding dropped calls.

According to the former University lecturer, the Key Performance Index (KPIs) from the commission allows only one drop call rate out of 100 (1:100 ratio).from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), stressing that the MNOs must maintain the regulatory requirements.

But this has not been the case in the country as drop call rate is one in every ten calls and complaints have been endless. In this regards,  all the service providers run foul as none could boast of meeting the set standard.

Speaking recently on the issue at the sideline during the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE), annual lecture/dinner in Lagos, Prof. Danbatta, explained that a number of cellular network subscribers are grappling with the issue of a frequently dropped call, hence the mandate to maintain only one drop call rate out of 100 (1:100 ratio).

“We said that out of 100 calls, only one is allowed to be dropped. That is the irreducible minimum for drop calls. As the regulator, we make sure these requirements are respected with regards to the set parameters,” he assured.

The EVC stressed that dropped call has been the subject of several network performance studies and a major contributor to service optimization in a well-established cellular network, adding that the objective of the parameter is to provide the subscribers with an expectation of how successful a cellular network will be at retaining the signal throughout the whole duration of the call.

Many are of the opinion that the telecom providers are running afoul of the rules because there is no adequate monitoring or means of measuring performance on the part of the regulatory  authorities. But the NCC EVC, would not agree to this, as he said that the commission has the capacity to monitor the KPIs across the country; States, FCT and local governments and ensure the telecom providers adhere strictly to the guidelines.

Given the assurance by Prof. Danbatta that the commission has the capacity to monitor the performance of telecom, Nigerians are hoping to see the regulatory authorities deploy all their arsenal to ensure that consumers get maximum satisfaction from services provided. Besides, consumers would want to see the telecom operators penalised for the infraction to serve as a wake up call, while on the other hand, the consumers who are always at the receiving end get compensated.

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