As the festive season draws near, there are indications that telecommunication subscribers are poised to counter the usual unavoidable plight of network congestion they are usually subjected to during the Christmas and New Year periods as many of them have this time come up with strategies to forestall the usual frustration they have been exposed to in the past years.
Already, subscribers have started to experience poor quality of service. For some weeks now, the flawed quality of service of all the network operators has gradually started to take toll their respective subscribers.
Some steps being taken by some subscribers to reduce the effects of network congestion and poor network service include purchase of additional Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) cards, dual/multiple SIM phones among others.
For those who would be travelling to their various towns and communities, they have been buying and activating SIM cards of networks that have strong signals in their respective villages and communities.
Another option some subscribers are hooking onto is the use of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and others which veritable platforms of capable instant communication.
Not so much unexpected, the last few weeks to the end of the year is usually characterised by business and social activities that can cause congestion on networks. Many subscribers communicate more and often on phones with business partners, families and friends both locally and internationally.
This development naturally puts more pressure on service providers’ networks and subjects subscribers to network interruption.
Some other challenges that often crop up as a result of network congestion include drop calls, inability to recharge phones with credit, low rate of call success, lack of voice call clarity, high Internet down time among others.
Recently, almost all the operators announced the rollout of (LTE) Long Term Evolution and 4G (Fourth Generation). But their services are still having hitches because of limited coverage network.
Speaking with BH, a subscriber in Ojuelegba area of Lagos, Ikpe Ekpenyong, said she is prepared to counter interruptions from any of the networks.
“I hope to travel to my hometown in Uyo this Christmas period. I just bought and registered an MTN SIM card because that is the network with the strongest signal there.
This is in addition to my Etisalat and Airtel lines. I resolved to do this because any of the networks can misbehave at anytime,” she said.
For some weeks now, there has been poor service across the networks. However, the level of the interruptions differs from one network to the other.
Some of them have been apologizing to their respective subscribers to exercise patience while efforts are being made to resolve the technical problems.
On his part, a subscriber in Abuja, Patrick Deji, said many people are already apprehensive about the network challenges they always face between late December and early January.
“There is no year that subscribers don’t have serious network problems. This always happens from Christmas period to New Year.
People easily forget things. Few years ago, MTN recharge cards went up and did not come back to normal price until pressure was mounted on the network. All this was happening in the face of poor quality of service. What I have done to avoid being victimized this time is to get two or more other networks so that if one fails me, I will simply remove it and insert another network,” he explained.
For Ojo Arowolo, a subscriber in Ayetoro, Egbado in Ogun State, expressed concerns over all the networks’ routine promises to offer their subscribers uninterrupted service quality. In her words: “I think there is no amount of assurance that will alter the hiccups subscribers will face this time just like any other year-end season. Many of my friends have started buying dual and multiple SIM phones. As you can see, my phone has three-SIM capacity. I will be travelling to my village. I don’t know how effective any of the networks would be; that is why I am bracing myself for any eventuality. As the saying goes, ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed’.”
Fear of the congestion is further heightening because of the ongoing promos by some service providers.
Prominent among them is Airtel’s Red Hot Promo in which subscribers win as much as ten million naira each.
Of course, others who have not unveiled theirs will likely follow suit soon.
Industry observers are of the belief that NCC will be on its toes to ensure that subscribers are not left in a hapless state this time as before.