Nigeria is the latest African country to begin dishing out prison sentences to ropey mobile operators, to combat the rising tide of poor network service.
Next time you curse your operator when your reception is too rubbish to stream the latest hilarious Pewdiepie video, spare a thought for your fellow phone users in Africa. Service in some countries is so bad that the government actually takes operators to court if they don’t buck up their ideas, while the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in Nigeria will start filing criminal charges against companies that deliver poor service.
Customers have to put up with all manner of complaints, including frequently dropped calls, thanks to a possible lack of investment or overcrowding of the networks. Nigeria in particular has been hit hard, as it’s Africa’s biggest telecoms market. Last year the Nigerian Communication Commission banned operators from adding new subscribers until the problems were rectified, while heavy fines have been thrown at the worst offenders.
In Tanzania, operators can already be jailed for a minimum of six months if their customers suffer network failures without ‘proper explanation’. Now it looks like Nigeria will have to resort to the same measures in order to solve the problem.
And if the threat of jail time manages to scare operators into action, it won’t be long before other African countries follow suit.