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The effectiveness of global system mobile providers' services on communication in Nigeria.

INTRODUCTION

The rapid global knowledge economy, increased business competitiveness, the move towards more customer-driven markets/satisfaction coupled with advances in scientific knowledge, most importantly, the diffusion of telecommunication and office automation have led to a period of constant social change, innovation, and the need for continuous improvement. This development in the technical system of communications such as international telephone connectivity and the rapid use of mobile telephones, fixed telephone lines, access to satellite televisions, faxes and internet usage among others have resulted in the bridging of the digital divide between the developed countries (Europe, United States of America) and developing countries like Nigeria.

This telecommunication advancement has not only turned the whole world into a global entity but has really compressed and shortened time, space and distance. Undoubtedly, today people can do their businesses with the use of telephone communication right inside their living rooms without any hiccups despite the fact that they may be billion miles apart. Hence, this provides for greater mobility and accessibility. At the same time, global competition has led to a continuous transformation in consumers' perceptions, needs, satisfactions, and judgements. Hence, there is a need to examine the activities of Global Service Mobile Providers in Nigeria as they relate to quality and service.

It is on record that Nigeria has the fastest growing telecoms in Africa and among the 10 fastest growing telecommunication markets in the world. By the end of September, 2009, the total subscriber base in Nigeria was 70,337, 600 to teledensity of 50% with an average growth of over eight million lines per annum, recorded from 2001-2009, and more than three per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product. The overall total subscription number as of December 31st 2010 was 87.3 million, with a penetration rate of 55 percent and by the end of August 2012 it stood at 105.2 million. The number of mobile subscribers in Nigeria is expected to grow by 14 percent reaching up to 120 million by 2013 as reported by Biodun Coker. (Business day 18th October, 2012).

This is quite different from the GSM subscribers rate of April 2008, which was 47,205,063 with teledensity of 33.72% and even far higher than the teledensity ratio of 0.4 in 2000 when GSM was introduced. In addition, it has brought about the inflow of more than N300 billion to the federation account and attracted over USD 12 billion foreign investments (Ugbechie, 2009).

According to GSM world news, there are now more than two billion users of GSM worldwide with China taking the lead with more than 370 million users, followed by Russia with 145 million, India with 83 million, and the USA with 78 million. Similarly, digital mobile phone network has not only spread to 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria plus Abuja but cuts across the six geo- political zones of North-West, North East, North Central, South West, South East and South-South reaching up to 90 per cent of the seemingly 150 million population of this country. However, the growth in GSM subscriptions and spread in Nigeria does not seem to match the improvements in quality of services received.

Based on this, the present study critically examines the current status of GSM providers' services on communication in Nigeria with a view of providing suggestions on how to achieve effectiveness and efficiency. The choice of the word "effectiveness" is because efficiency is not enough to measure success. Efficiency involves getting work done with a minimum effort and expense (Williams, 2007; 5) while effectiveness means accomplishing tasks that help fulfil organisational objectives such as customer service and satisfaction. There is customer satisfaction when GSM providers' services meet or exceed customer's expectation. Aside, the importance of effective and quality services cannot be overemphasised.

BACKGROUND OF THIS STUDY

The rapid increase in Global System for Mobile Telecommunication acquisition and usage in Nigeria have been astounding in recent times. The stunning increase in subscription rate of GSM in Nigeria as at the end of September, 2009 stood at 70,337,600 with more than three per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Today, Nigeria has a combined subscriber base which is put at 95.88 million as of the end of December, 2011 and 105.2 million subscribers by the end of August 2012 according to Nigerian communication commission report (Punch, October 5, 2012). This astronomical increase does not seem to match with the quality of GSM services being provided. This is because the Nigerian people, who are the subscribers and the customers, are complaining bitterly on televisions, radios, in newspapers, at home and in their places of work about the poor quality of service GSM operators render and their profit-driven motives. Even, in punch newspaper of October, 5 2012, analysts urged the GSM service providers to match the increased subscriber base with more investments in network expansion. This equally shows that there services needs to be investigated empirically.

Such complaints border on poor voice signals, poor audio quality, dropped calls, call interference, non-delivery of short messages (SMS), inadequate infrastructure, low network coverage, multiple billing systems for SMS, exorbitant call rates, poor customer service and relations, among others. The fact, that they are making a lot of profits from Nigerians and from direct foreign investment, does not seem to reflect on the services being provided. For example between 2001 to the second quarter of 2011 foreign direct investment is expected to hit 18 billion US dollars. There is no doubt that this is a huge profit but the question is: is there any correlation between this and the services provided to Nigerians? Vanguard of August 31 (2008) further commented on the urgent need to critically examine the effectiveness of GSM providers' services in Nigeria (Akinboade, 2008).

In connection with the above, the former Minister of information and communication Prof. Dora Akunyili on the 24th of December 2008 decried the poor quality of services provided by GSM operators in Nigeria. She described it as poor and ineffective. She reiterated that most Nigerians are unhappy and are expressing displeasure over their activities. Because of this, she directed that the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) should collect statistics of all call dropout rates and other services on weekly basis in order to determine the performance of the operators (All Africa News, 2008). Buttressing this fact, MTN Nigeria and three other GSM networks were fined a total of N1.17 billion to be paid before May 2012 as a penalty for providing poor quality telephony service to mobile phone users in Nigeria (Adeniyi, 2012).

It is the perception of this prevailing and pervasive nature of the services of GSM providers' against the public outcry that motivates this research. Since the former minister was calling for statistical study of the problems, it implies that her comments were based on mere speculations and observations devoid of empirical study. Therefore, there is a vacuum which the present research is designed to fill. The emphasis here is on GSM services, communication and Nigerians perception.

The British colonial administrations were the first to develop telecommunication facilities in Nigeria in 1886 just like in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia where telephone communication were established and modelled after the French Ministry of Post telegraph. During this period, a cable connection was established between Lagos and the colonial office in London. At independence, Nigeria had only 18,724 working telephone lines for an estimated population of 45 million with a tele density ratio of 0.04 telephones per 100 people (Fashola, 1999; Ajala 2005 & Kareem, 2008). Table 1 reveals the telephone lines in service in Nigeria from 1960 to 2005 with their tele density fixed lines.

Table 2 below shows the Selected Networked Readiness of Countries and the Position of Nigeria.

Judging from table 2, it appears that Nigeria lagged behind in the usage of information technology. The United States of America is the top ranked country with the most highly developed ICT networks and the greatest potential to exploit those networks capacity. Nigeria's position is seventy five (75) which is far behind other countries of the world. The Selected Networked Readiness of Countries and the Position of Nigeria

Wellenium (1987) noted that developing countries invested an average of 0.3 per cent of GDP in the telecom sector in the early 1980s compared with 0.6 percent for industrialized countries. In fact, Nigeria was ranked 49th among the countries with the least developed telephone networks.

Therefore, between 1960-1985, the Post and Telegraph (P&T) was in charge of internal networks while the Nigeria External Tele Limited was in charge of External telecom (NCC, 1991). Thus, a telecommunications service in Nigeria was provided solely by the P&T Department which had the single monopoly of providing telephone and telegraph services.

Messages were sent by cable strung overhead and along the ocean floors around the world (Sobowale, 2005). This made it slow, cumbersome and unreliable. In 1985, the Post and Telegraph Department was divided into postal and telecom divisions. The telecom was joined with NET to form Nigeria telecom, a single profit-oriented limited liability company popularly called NITEL. On the other hand, the postal division was reconstituted into Nigerian Postal Services (NCC, 1991).This was with the view of improving the services rendered in Nigeria.

Following this, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) officially commenced business in Nigeria in January 1985. It inherited 4 million shares of one naira each with two million fully paid (Afeikhena, 2002). NITEL became the basic provider of internal and external services between 1985 and 1992 which had a great effect on the industry and the citizenry at large. This is because as of December, 1991, there were about 450,000 direct exchange lines giving an average penetration level of about 1 line per 250 inhabitants as against international telecommunication union recommendation of 1 line per 100 persons for developing nations (Afeikhena, 2002). In 1996, Nigerian teledensity rate was 0.36 and it later rose to 0.4 in 1999.

In 1999, Nigeria had less than 700,000 telephone lines with just over 50% in working condition. Nigeria telecommunication operational status included; 195 local telephone exchanges (55 digital , 140 analogue) ; 96 trunk transit exchanges (48 primary centres, 11 digit exchanges, 37 analogue); three digital gateways located in Lagos, Enugu and Kaduna; analogue gateway located in Lanlate (Oyo State); telex capacity of 15,000 lines of which only 6843 were functional (Ologbenla & Emore ,2006). It should be noted that private lines were given to very few people who could afford it while telephone booths were almost dead.

Available report revealed that there were more than 500,000 waiting applicants nationwide because of government created bureaucracies which resulted in inadequacies, administrative bottlenecks and official corruption within the bodies saddled with the responsibility of providing telephone services. Otokhine, 2001 reported in the Comet Newspaper that it was a known fact that government officials openly looted NITEL's financial resources, diverting monies which should have been spent on expansion programmes to projects such as providing accommodation, salary, allowances among others.

According to Adomi (2005), installing a telephone in the commercial capital of Lagos was normally expected to cost 150,000 including official and unofficial fees and could take several months and cumbersome paperwork. Lines were sometimes cut off for no apparent reason and restoring them involved costly delays for business. Oluwadare (2006a), in his research study affirms that there had been inefficiency and decay in the nation's telecom sector before the advent of the deregulation of the telecom sector in 2001.

This corroborated the findings of Akah (2002) that up till the year 2000, Nigeria had an installed capacity of only 750,000 telephone lines. Of these, 700,000 belonged to the Nigerian telecommunication system, out of which only 400,000 were connected. This is in line with the statistics of NCC (2004) that there were less than 500,000 active fixed telephone lines for Nigeria's estimated population of 130 million at 2001. The remaining 90,000 lines were operated by Private Telephone Operators who were newly licensed to operate. This scanty number was serving a population estimated at 130 million people (Akah, 2002). It was the lowest phone density in the world.

Probably that was why Nwafor (1997) found that the quality of service was very poor coupled with constant congestion of switching equipment which resulted in long dual to delays and very low completion rates for local, long distance and incoming international calls. In addition, there was a lack of an efficient billing system among others. This is quite different from what is obtained in other countries of the world. This is in spite of the fact that Ghana, Bukina Faso, Zimbabwe and Egypt have really showed that low density is not a curse which African nation like Nigeria cannot deal with. There is the need for a regulatory commission to enforce compliance with international standard in terms of area coverage, cost, quality and range of services provided by the operatives.

After NITEL, came the wireless telecommunication service which was at first the monopoly of Dizengoff Ltd based at Apapa, Lagos with branches throughout Nigeria (Sobowale, 2005). It was mainly for business people and can be said to be the first introduction to mobile phones. This wireless telecommunication had its shortcomings like poor reception coupled with operation that was mainly within Nigeria making the range coverage to be small and it is very expensive to use. Nevertheless, it was an alternative to the shoddy services of NITEL.

Following this, the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Ernest Ndukwe in March 2000 as the Vice chairman of the Nigerian communications commission to lead the affairs of telecommunication.

Advent of a Global System for Mobile Phones Communication in Nigeria

This recent Global System for Mobile Telephone communication popularly called GSM came into Nigeria as a result of the deregulation of the telecommunications market system by the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001. The deregulation or liberalisation has not only brought about the increase of subscribers to telephone lines to the tune of 90 million as of the first quarter of 2011 , but has also brought about increased demand in other related areas such as the sale of phone accessories and telephone handsets. This made it possible for private operators to come in to compete with the notorious and grossly inefficient NITEL that was initially the official national carrier and semi-divine god for the Nigerian government treasury as far as telephone services was concerned then.

Following the deregulation of telephone services, Global System Mobile (GSM) communication operators were introduced in Nigeria in 2001 providing the 900/1800MHZ spectrum. From available records, five private companies participated in the auction sale held in Abuja between January 15th and 17th 2001, but three companies--MTN, Econet Wireless (later VMobile, CELTEL and now Zain) and Mtel were made to fulfil their post-auction requirements after which they were awarded their licenses. In 2002, Globacom joined the race. There are eleven types of licenses provided by NCC for any private operators which include Private network links (PNL); Community telecommunication; public value added Network service; Switched telephone network; Mobile; Public telephone; Prepaid calling card; Cabling; Repairs and Maintenances; Telecentres/Cybercafe, and Terminal or Equipment sales (First City Merchant Bank, 2001 cited in Olengbenla, 2006.

It must be pointed out that these major GSM operators were granted exclusive right and issued with license to operate as independent monopolies for a period of five years. This is to enable them to recover their initial huge investment together with other operating cost incurred. According to Aihe (2005), GLO Mobile was leading in the telecommunications industry in investment in Nigeria because it committed a whooping sum of N350 billion, followed by MTN with the sum of N250 billion while VMobile (Zain) about N139 billion and Mtel , that was relying on the facilities of NITEL, paid N67 billion. In addition, they were expected to provide at least 300,000 lines within their first year in business, 750,000 lines within 36 months and 1.5 million lines within the first five years which they not only met but exceeded, though with the exception of NITEL which did not measure up.

It is important to note that, when these GSM operators were scrambling for their market quota, Private Telephone Operators (PTO) with their CDMA technology equally positioned operations for a share of the cake (Okanazu & Amuka-Pemu, 2005). Following this, each of these GSM companies like Multilinks, Intercellular, Starcomms, Cellcom, RelTel, MTS and a host of others rolled out fixed and limited mobile services (lbid). Today, many Nigerians are proud owners of GSM handsets. It was stated that 7 national long distance communication operators, 13 fixed wireless access network operators, eight interconnect exchange operators, 2 internet exchange operators and 562 internet service/solution providers came into being. According to Long Distance Post (1998-2008), the major operators on the GSM network today are as follows; Cingular/AT&T and T-Mobile while other carriers were Verizon wireless and Sprint which operate on CDMA networks. ln addition, there are four major worldwide GSM frequencies as follows: GSM-900, GSM-1800 GSM 850, and GSM-1900. Though, there is GSM-400 which is unpopular and not normally used because it has old frequency. lt was formerly used in Russia and Europe before GSM-900 and GSM-1900 came into operation. Nigeria uses GSM-900 and GSM-1800 which are commonly used worldwide.

In line with the above discussions, the first Global mobile telephone call was made in August 2001. This marked the beginning of a new era in the annals of the history of Nigeria because it expanded the number of people subscribing and using GSM handsets phone unlike before where it was meant for the government, corporate organisations and the affluent in the society. Today, shoe makers, meat sellers, market men and women, students, artisans, taxi drivers, rural people among others are using GSM phones.

BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

The barriers to effective communication are those things that hinder or obstruct the understanding of the message that is being sent from the sender to the receiver. They can be referred to as problems, blockages and roadblocks to effective communication flow. According to Mcshane and Gilnow (2000: 234) barriers to communication include poor perception, filtering, language and information overload. On the other hand, in Boone and Kurtz (1981) communication roadblocks include poor timing, inadequate information, inappropriate channel, noise, selective perception, premature evaluation, emotions and beliefs.

It should be noted that telephone, as an electronic equipment that converts voice and sound signal into electrical signals before transmitting to long or short distance areas and as a means of receiving and reconverting waves into sound signals is not devoid of barriers which is the crux of this study. For instance, on July 18th 2007 the House of Representatives summoned GSM service providers to appear before its Ad-hoc Committee because of the epileptic services they rendered to Nigerians. They were told to stop all forms of promotions until their services improved.

In the same vein, on February 2008, GSM operators were tested based on key parameters of traffic channel congestion, call completion rates, call set up, success rates, call drop rates, percentage of failed calls among others. In fact MTN and Celtel were restricted from making any advertisement that will result in more subscribers or in bring in more airtime. The problem now is what should have been done and can still be done?

Similarly, Ogbu (2008) complained against GSM operatives on behalf of the consumers. He strongly condemned telecom operatives' services in this way,

   "Successful companies in telecom are revenue driven, placing value
   maximization at the centre of their actions, decision making
   process and aligning their strategies and internal processes to
   deliver consistently higher returns to shareholders, customer care
   centres that are basically revenue centres with poorly-trained
   staff; customer care centres that are not able to make any
   important decisions".


Adegoke, Babalola, and Balogun (2008) research findings showed a lot of factors militating against GSM in Nigeria which include; instability of power supply; insecurity of infrastructures; internetworking connectivity; network congestion; and; call drop out. Looking at the above problems, one can say that it borders on human, technical, social, economic and political factors. This is in line with what Williams (2007) submitted that due to technical difficulties (e.g. Fax down, dead battery on the mobile phone, inability to read email attachments) or people based problems (e.g. forgetting to pass on the message), messages are not always transmitted. Despite the numerous problems affecting GSM services in Nigeria, the impact and influence of communication and information cannot be relegated to the background nor neglected.

Theoretical Frame work

The researcher designed the model as shown in Figure 1 to explain the relationship between the predictor variables and the criterion variables

Figure 1 shows the framework for this study is based on the assumption that the identified independent variables (or predictor variables) of GSM services like audio quality, network coverage, voice signal ,call forwarding among others will affect communication system either directly or indirectly. In view of this, effective communication system depends on the identified GSM providers' services like mobile phone, voice and non data voice, quality of services, long distance calls among others.

The above model depicts that the input passes through a channel which affects the output resulting in consequences and feedback as shown diagrammatically above. The quality of the GSM services like the telephone voice services gives the subscribers the complete capability to effectively communicate with other subscribers among others (input). This passes through a medium which automatically influences the output either in a positive or negative way. The outcome is the consequences and the feedback loop which is indicated above.

Here, the GSM services provided by the operators are expected to provide effective services if not for the noise. The noise here are those things that affect or disrupts the processes of communication like call dropout rate, power failure, high tariff, restricted call, call barred, poor voice services and poor network coverage among others. The output is hearing and understanding the message well and communicating back to the sender (effective phone call), network flow and effective transmission among others. The consequences include effective decision, more subscribers, reduced crime rate, health efficiency, good employment and placement of employees. The feedback can be delayed or can be immediate feedback in which case it would lead to better and improved providers' services, good working GSM policies and a vibrant economy.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Research Design

The researcher employed e x-post-facto research design since the dependent variable communication had already been experienced by the consumers. In order to tap the experience of the consumers, survey re search technique was used. The research was carried out among GSM services consumers in Lagos Metropolis Nigeria. Lagos is a mega-city and equally a nerve centre of business in Nigeria. Its population is 15 million and is expected to reach 25 million by 2015.

Population of the Study

The population for the study includes all consumers of services being provided by the GSM providers in Lagos state. Since the consumers are both males and females. Equal number of males and females were used.

Sample and Data Collection

A total number of 500 questionnaires were distributed out of which 493 respondents were used for this study (Appendix 1). In order to remove the intervening effect of gender, males and females were used. In this case it was 334 for male representing 67.7 % while female was 159 representing 32.25%. Random sampling technique was used. Random sampling enables the researcher to use as sample any element the researcher comes across at random and which falls within the elements of the researcher's defined population. The researcher continued to select them until the needed number of respondents was reached.

Variables

The independent variable in this research is GSM provider services while the dependent variable is communication. It is expected that the type of services being rendered will have either positive or negative influence on communication among consumers. The effect is expected to be dichotomous (satisfactory versus unsatisfactory, effective versus ineffective).

Research Instrument

A questionnaire known as GSM Providers' Services Measurement Questionnaire was used. The item of the questionnaire was build from literature, interview and personal observation. It was subsequently validated and a norm of 72 per cent established for the instrument. This implies that out of the 500 respondents anyone who scored 72 per cent below is regarded as perceiving GSM services as ineffective. Following this criteria, 493 respondents were used in this study. For the validity aspect, face validity and reliability of the instrument was established. Out of 10 experts, 7 or 70% judged the instrument as valid. It was thereafter used to gather the relevant data from the respondents.

Research Procedure

The researcher trained and used six research assistants to administer and collect data for the study. It was on-site method of data collection. This was adopted in order to overcome the problem of retrieval associated with the use of the questionnaire method. Thereafter, the questionnaire was scored; the scores were extracted and shaped into a descriptive statistics. A suitable statistics was then used to analyse the data.

Statistics

A one sample t-test was used to determine if the observed mean was significantly different from the hypothesized mean.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

The result of this study generally shows that GSM services are effective, have not reduced crimes and vices, facilitated social communication and interaction and reduced the rate of travelling among Nigerians.

With regard to hypothesis one, the result is significant and received an affirmative answer that GSM provider' services are effective in Nigeria as could be seen below. It was discovered they have successfully met the aspirations and yearnings of the people in terms of communication to the extent that almost everybody (meat sellers, artisans, bricklayers and taxi drivers and so on) today has handsets. This is in spite of some of the teething problems like high call dropout rate, low network coverage and exorbitant call charges among others, those sampled in this study believe that GSM services are effective.

RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Based on the problems of this research study, the following hypotheses have been formulated as follows:

1. GSM services are effective in Nigeria;

2. GSM services have reduced the rate of crimes and vices in Nigeria;

3. GSM services have facilitated social communication and interaction; and;

4. GSM services have reduced the rate of travelling.

Hypothesis 1

H0: GSM services are not effective in Nigeria.

H1: GSM services are effective in Nigeria.

T-test:

One-Sample Statistics

                                                    Std. Error
                       N    Mean   Std. Deviation      Mean

GSM services in
Nigeria is reliable   493   2.71             .868         .039

One-Sample Test

                                        Test Value = 2

                                                        95% Confidence
                                                        Interval of the
                                                          Difference
                                 Sig.         Mean
                 t      df    (2-tailed)   Difference   Lower   Upper

GSM services   18.065   492         .000         .706     .63     .78
in Nigeria
is reliable

T-value = 18.07; Tabulated t-value = 1.960; DF = 492; Sig.= 0.000


This shows that there is a significant difference between calculated mean and hypothesized mean (tc = 18.07 > tt =1.96 p < .05). The calculated mean is significantly greater than the hypothesized mean. Thus, the null hypothesis is rejected while the alternative hypothesis that GSM services are effective in Nigeria is accepted.

Furthermore, the success and effectiveness of GSM is being attributed to its mobility management, offering its users the freedom and conveniences to conduct business from almost anywhere at any point in time (Salami, 2008). There is no doubt that people's willingness to initiate a call, talk and receive a feedback will definitely have a great influence on their survival and living. This is attested to when Ndukwe (2009) asserts that a robust telecom sector will impact lives, rural or urban industries, small or large, education, transport, security and life of a country from outmoded base of existence to modern pristine living. Equally, Okoruwa (2004) posits that all the operatives have made communication effective and efficient in Nigeria. They use the various media like television, radio, newspapers, magazines, outdoor, posters, t-shirts, and luxury buses to promote their businesses to the people.

Authors like Mody, et. al (1995), Schement (1995), and Napoli (2001) wrote about the significance of telecommunication in improving the living conditions of people in developing countries to the extent that their writings reinforced information communication technology adoption in a country like Nigeria. Probably that is why GSM providers' services offer services like contract line, itemised bills, directory inquiry voicemail, fax and data communication service, pre-paid phone card, short message services, conference calling, caller line call waiting and call barring among others. Based on this, the researcher concludes that the services being provided by these organisations are effective enough to positively impact communication in Nigeria.

Hypothesis 2

Concerning hypothesis two, the findings reveal that GSM services have not reduced the rate of crimes and vices in Nigeria.

H0: GSM services have not reduced the rate of crimes and vices in Nigeria.

H1: GSM services have reduced the rate of crimes and vices in Nigeria.

T-test

One-Sample Statistics

                  N     Mean    Std. Deviation   Std. Error
                                                    Mean

GSM encourages
corruption       493   2.7120          .85195       .03837

One-Sample Test

                          Test Value = 2
                                                      95% Confidence
                                                      Interval of the
                                                        Difference
                               Sig.         Mean
               t      df    (2-tailed)   Difference   Lower   Upper

GSM          18.555   492        .000       .71197    .6366   .7874
encourages
corruption

T-value = 18.56; Tabulated t-value= 1.960; DF = 492; Sig. = 0.000


This shows that there is a significant difference between calculated mean and hypothesized mean (tc = 18.56> tt =1.96 p < .05). The calculated mean is significantly greater than the hypothesized mean. Thus, the null hypothesis is rejected while the alternative hypothesis that GSM services have reduced the rate of crimes and vices in Nigeria is accepted.

Majority of the respondents affirmed that the use of GSM encouraged promiscuity, motor accidents, use of abusive languages, examination malpractices, dishonesty and the rate of motor accidents, armed robbery and stealing in Nigeria. People steal handsets, phone accessories among others without any trace of it and use them or still sell them back as second-hand. Furthermore, it is through the use of telephone that these robbers communicate among themselves in their own special language on where to meet, time, and who to attack and at what time. It should be noted that 65.7% of the respondents agree that there is an increase in armed robbery incidences and attack in Nigeria while only 34.3% of the respondents disagree that armed robbery attack is not on the increase.

Furthermore, 66.5% of the respondents agree that GSM encouraged promiscuity while 33.5% of them disagree. Thus, majority of the respondents agree that GSM encouraged promiscuity. This is usually committed with the use of telephones. Many of the so called married couples have extra-marital affairs and they make friends and appointments with the aid of telephones and e-mail messages of the telephone which makes it very easy for them to shield their activities from the eyes of the society. It has increased the rate of broken homes (separations) and divorce suits in the law courts today in Nigeria. For instance, when a woman catches her husband answering his girlfriend's call or phoning her or when she goes through her husband's phone and she comes across short messages sent to the man among others, it results into broken homes. It should be noted that this scenario could be vice-versa.

Probably that is why, 66.9% of the respondents attest that GSM helps people to be dishonest and disobedient while 33.3% of them disagree. Thus, majority of the respondents agree that GSM helps people to be dishonest and disobedient. It is very easy for people to lie about their locations and other things with the aid of the telephone. They don't give accurate information's about what is happening around them or where they are.. For instance, somebody might be at Imo state and when asked about his/her location, he may say he is in Lagos.

Again, 78.7% of the respondents agree that GSM encouraged playing tricks (419) while 21.3% disagree to that. This result is further supported by the research findings of Olufayo et. al, (2007) that a lot of people have been defrauded through illicit phone calls from fraudsters. They contended that students in tertiary institutions use handsets for examination malpractices while armed robbers use it to facilitate their operations. The researcher is of the opinion that it is not only in higher institutions that students use handsets for examination malpractices but also in the primary and secondary schools. There is no doubt that people use telephone easily to abuse each other and send abusive text messages to people. For instance, the findings of this study show that 60.6% of the respondents agree that GSM encourages the use of abusive language while 39.4% of the respondents disagree.

More so, GSM providers' services have increased the rate of motor accidents among Nigeria. This is supported by the findings of Olufayo and Omotosho (2007) that several motorists on the highway make and receive phone calls while driving on the highways. Reliable information from the Nigerian Federal Road Safety Commission and responses from respondents show that majority of accidents people have today is because of the use of mobile phones while driving. Now, majority of the respondents that is 62.9% of them agree that GSM has increased the rate of motor accidents on the highway while 37.1% of the respondents disagree. This is not surprising where the majority of motorists in Nigeria will be driving and at the same time making or answering calls or loading credits on their phones thereby losing concentration. People have made telephone a part of their lives and to many; their phones are inseparable from them. In fact, people are now so attached to their telephones such that there is bound to be increase in road and home accidents because their minds are always on the phone.

Hypothesis 3

On hypothesis three, the result of this study reveals that GSM have facilitated social communication and interactions among Nigerians as could be seen below

H0: GSM services have not facilitated social communication and interaction among Nigerians.

H1: GSM services have facilitated social communication and interaction among Nigerians.

T-test

One-Sample Statistics

                          N     Mean      Std.      Std. Error
                                        Deviation      Mean

GSM facilitates social
communication and
interaction              493   3.1136     .64018       .02883

One-Sample Test

                              Test Value = 2

                                    Sig.         Mean
                    t      df    (2-tailed)   Difference

GSM facilitates   38.623   492         .000      1.11359
social
communication
and interaction

                  Test Value = 2

                  95% Confidence
                  Interval of the
                     Difference

                  Lower    Upper

GSM facilitates   1.0569   1.1702
social
communication
and interaction

T-value = 38.62; Tabulated t-value = 1.960; DF = 492; Sig. = 0.000


This shows that there is a significant difference between calculated mean and hypothesized mean (t = 38.62 > t =1.96 p < .05). The calculated mean is significantly greater than the hypothesized mean. Thus, the null hypothesis is rejected while the alternative hypothesis that GSM services have facilitated social communication and interaction among Nigerians is accepted.

Therefore, the result is tenable and accepted that GSM have facilitated social communication and interactions among Nigerians. This is in corroboration of the fact that regions and people cannot be independent on their own nor exist in isolation. There is the need for interactions, mutual cooperation, socialisation and co-existence among and between each other, people and nations in order to satisfy one's needs and exchange ideas among others. There is an adage that says that "No man is an island" which further strengthen the need for coexistence and tolerance. Oyinloye (2009) asserted that information dissemination is very important in human activities because it is a unique feature that distinguishes human beings from animals. This is supported by the fact that every gamut of the individual basic rights like the rights to life, the right to personal liberty and dignity, the rights to freedom of expression and information and to freedom of movement is dependent on effective telecommunication system.

GSM promotes economic development because it provides easy and effective communication needed to stimulate and enhance trade between Nigeria and its foreign partners in the world (Balogun, 2000). This is supported by the assertion of Ekundayo, et. al (2009) that modern day businesses are conducted and facilitated through the use of telephone, fax machines and computer communication works through the internet.

There is doubt saying that through the use of mobile phones, people are able to inform others about heavy traffic jam, congestion, armed robbery they witness, road blockage because of heavy downpour or road accidents among others. It was through the use of telephone services that the former Governor of Anambra State Chris Ngige was able to communicate with his friends, relations and Nigerians as a whole that he was abducted and that there was plan to remove him from office. Following this, people were alerted and he gained his freedom. He probably, would have been killed.

Similarly, during the Ikeja cantonment fire disaster of 27th January, 2002, it was mobile telephones that the victims and citizenry used to inform their relations, parents, fire fighters about what was happening to them at that period in the barracks and efforts were made to rescue them and stop the fire from spreading. Again, victims of collapsed houses in Lagos at Ebute Metta and Abuja in the year 2009 used mobile telephones to inform their relations and their people that they were still trapped in the rubble. Following this, efforts were made to save them even though some of them eventually died before any help could reach them.

Adomi (2006) showed that students used mobile phones to communicate with their course mates, friends, lecturers and family relations. Aside, family matters and finance, academic matters are also discussed on phones and it has facilitated the exchange of information (lbid). It permits students and their teachers to have academic relationship (Ndukwe, 2009).

Idowu, et. al. (2003) showed that GSM facilitated social communication and has serious impact on the health sector. Their findings revealed the following:

1. Almost all the medical experts in the teaching hospitals surveyed are using mobile phones. The social communication impact could be seen from ward to ward and between doctors and nurses and patients between the wards such as patient referrals from one ward to another. For instance, the physicians were able to facilitate the admission and prompt services to babies brought in the neonatal ward because of the use of mobile phone;

2. Physicians not available in the hospital can be reached easily through the use of mobile phones when there is an emergency. Some doctors post their mobile phone numbers on the wall in their wards so that they can be reached easily;

3. When physicians need a second opinion, they contact their colleagues for consultation via their mobile phones and;

4. Healthcare professionals use their mobile phones to get materials or equipment into a particular ward or room.

Corroborating the above, Ndukwe (2009) asserted that distances are eliminated as doctors in the cities are able to consult for their colleagues in rural settings. There is now improvement in broad band infrastructure and other multimedia facilities which have great impact on the health delivery. With broad band and video conference facilities, Nigerian doctors are able to discuss with patients and colleagues across the country (op.cit).

Hypothesis 4

Furthermore, this research study shows that GSM has reduced the rate of travelling because there is a significant difference between calculated mean and hypothesized mean (tc = 34.13 > tt =1.96 p < .05) as could be seen below.

H0: GSM services have not reduced the rate of travelling.

H1: GSM services have reduced the rate of travelling.

T-test

One-Sample Statistics

                       N     Mean      Std.      Std. Error
                                     Deviation      Mean

GSM has reduced the
frequency rate
of travelling         493   3.1460      .74556       .03358

One-Sample Test

                                   Test Value = 2

                                                       95% Confidence
                                                       Interval of the
                                Sig.                     Difference
                             (2-tailed)      Mean
                t      df                 Difference   Lower    Upper

GSM has
reduced the
frequency     34.130   492         .000      1.14604   1.0801   1.2120
rate of
travelling

T-value = 34.13; Tabulated t-value = 1.960; DF = 492; Sig.= 0.000


This reveals that there is a significant difference between calculated mean and hypothesized mean (tc = 34.13 > tt =1.96 p < .05). The calculated mean is significantly greater than the hypothesized mean. Thus, the null hypothesis is rejected while the alternative hypothesis that GSM services have reduced the rate of travelling is accepted.

This is supported by the findings of Adomi (2005) who discovered that GSM handsets have not only increased the number of people with access to and use of telephone but also have limited the need to travel. GSM providers' services have shortened and reduced the rate, distance; manner, time and cost of travelling because people no longer travel the way they used to travel before. They can now safely transact their businesses right inside their living rooms. They can discuss and send e-mail text messages to their loved ones, families, friends, schools, cousins, parents and relations on phone unlike before when there was no GSM providers services

Corroborating the above, Elegbeleye (2005) further buttressed the present study that GSM providers' services have reduced the risk and cost of travelling long distances since one can be in one's house and attend to business using his or her mobile phones. Adeyeye in Wojuade (2005) stated clearly that GSM has discouraged rural-urban migration. It is therefore safe to say that with GSM, there is no point travelling and wasting money to travel to the urban centres because telephone services are now available and affordable to people. Now, one can travel without physically entering a vehicle and do all the necessary things one wants to do. lkehemuemhe (2005) affirmed that resources which would have been deployed in travelling are now put to better use while the ease of business communication has also impacted positively in increased productive activities.

This researcher also finds that GSM operators in Nigeria are faced with a lot of challenges, ranging from interconnectivity, unstable power supply, unfriendly attitude of GSM service provider employees, limited mobile personnel, call drop rate, and poor financial capital among others. This is supported with the findings of Adomi (2005) and Nwafor (1997). Their individual research study shows that GSM operators' services have poor quality of service, constant congestion of switching equipment which results in long dual tone delays and very poor completion rates for local, long distance, and incoming international calls.

CONCLUSION

From the foregoing, it can be deduced that GSM services in Nigeria is effective, have not reduced crime and vices in Nigeria, facilitated social communication and interaction, and have reduced the rate of travelling among Nigerians. However, services have the following problems like high call dropout rate, low network coverage, marriage break up rate, and exorbitant call charges among others.

IMPLICATIONS

This study has implications not only to policy makers, government, stakeholders, and future researchers, but also to GSM providers and to the generality of Nigerians because it has revealed some of the potent factors that affect effective GSM services in Nigeria like exorbitant tariffs, high call drop rate, lack of recharge cards, inability to load recharge cards, unclear messages/transmission, lack of power supply, stealing of equipment, and corruption among others.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Nigerian government and the Ministry of Information and Communication among others should come up with more stringent policies, rules, laws and measures on how to monitor, control and regulate the GSM providers' services in order to deal a final death blow to the unwholesome activities they render to Nigerians. This will force service providers to sit up and also serve as a deterrent to other multinational companies that are entering into the GSM global market. This is because these GSM providers are taking in more customers without commensurate infrastructure to serve and satisfy them. The infrastructure on ground should be inspected and certified before they will continue with network expansion to other places in the country where they are not yet present. This is because most of the equipment they bring into Nigeria is either outdated or malfunctioning.

The Nigeria Communications Commission should be strengthened to continue to provide its function (advisory, technical experts support etc); support the digital bridge, institute training facilities and adequately participate in programmes of institutions such as ITU, NEPAD, WATRA and ATU. They have the responsibilities for implementing government policies on telecommunications and also supporting the Federal Ministry of Information and Communication in an advisory role.

For good corporate governance and quality assurance in organisations, the government in Nigeria should be prudent, transparent, accountable and participatory if the sharp practices of GSM providers are to be checked. This is because the rate of call drop outs, no network coverage, multiple billing system, congestion, and unstable services among others are a daily occurrence in Nigeria which is not the same when compared with other countries of the world. In fact those caught should be punished severely ranging from bans, revocation of their licenses, payment of fines, and confiscation of their equipment by government.

The GSM providers' services network should have accurate billing platform that will give accurate CDR for settlement of interconnected bills. Money derived from these GSM providers' services should be properly accounted for and judiciously utilised in the administration and provisions of basic necessities of life. This is because many of these GSM providers evade tax or pay less most of the time meanwhile, their subscribers are milked to the last blood in their vein. Adequate measures should therefore be taken in order to sanitise the whole system and rid it of corruption, bribery and tricks.

Furthermore, the issue of power supply and security measures should be looked into by government without any further delay. This is because they are some of the flimsy excuses given by GSM providers' services as affecting the quality of services being provided and for making them charge high tariffs. . According to GSM providers, they operate their daily businesses with generating sets which consume a lot of gas, making them incur a lot of expenses in terms of installation and running costs which they have to transfer to the consumers since they are in business to make profit.

Furthermore, the activity of the hoodlums who vandalise and damage their equipment is not helping matters either. This has made them employ the services of security agents to secure their outfits and equipment across the country which costs a lot of money. Yet, Nigeria is being regarded as the giant of Africa and intends to be one of the twenty economies of the world. Adequate measures in terms of effective security (police, army, navy, customs and vigilante groups among others) should be provided or guaranteed so that their equipment will not be damaged or carted away by hoodlums.

Tracking devices should be installed in phones which are capable of showing and exposing stolen GSM equipment and accessories. Efforts should be made to properly record people's names, addresses and types of phone that are used so that even if it is stolen, the person that stole it will find it extremely difficult to sell or use the phone. In view of the above discussion, there is the need for the provision of the basic necessities of life and security in this country and efforts should be geared towards that by all concerned.

There is need for intensive and extensive training and empowerment of Nigerians to acquire the skills to manufacture phones and their accessories in Nigeria. The government should also provide the environment to enable citizens to set up firms and institutions in this area. This will raise Nigerians to the standard of their foreign counterparts and the current reliance on foreigners will be eliminated so that they will be able to establish and man their own GSM organisation/outfits and employ people the way multinationals are doing instead of solely depending on them for everything ranging from importation of GSM scratch cards to accessories to equipment. Loans could be given to individuals to facilitate this.

Honest services should be provided to customers by charging them according to the calls they made and not charging them even when network is bad or there is call drop. In fact, they have made a lot of profits from Nigerian customers that it has reached the stage where they should compensate everybody by making instant messages free in Nigeria and also free calls from 8 pm in the evening to 6 pm in the morning instead of from 12 pm to 4 pm. GSM service providers should be trained and re-oriented toward the need for good customer care relations. They should also abide with the 'philosophy of golden rule management" for effective and efficient customer care delivery.

One of the recommendations among others is that GSM providers should shift from mere service delivery, network coverage, and air time bonanzas to provision of high value services that will lead to customer satisfaction. This can be achieved by providing quality, dependable service, restoring lost hope, rekindling customers' confidence, and satisfying their numerous customers who have been discouraged and disillusioned due to exorbitant tariffs, poor audio quality, call interference, non-delivery of short message (SMS), multiple billing system, poor customer care service, and high call dropout rate among others. There is customer service when GSM providers meet or exceed their customers' needs and expectations and implement policies and procedures that support these expectations.

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER STUDIES

This research could be extended to other states in Nigeria since it focused on Lagos state. Moreover, other multinationals that provide GSM services like Etisalat, Visafone, Multilink and Star comms could be investigated through the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods.

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Mary Chinelo Ubabudu

NASFA, Apapa Lagos

Mary C. Ubabudu is a senior civil servant with Ministry of Defence Abuja posted to the Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration (NASFA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education, Masters in Education (M.Ed), Masters in Public and International Affairs (MPIA), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management (with specialisation in Human Resources). She has published widely in the areas of educational management, international relations, politics and strategic communication. Equally she has attended several local and international conferences, workshops and seminars in her identified areas of interests. She is currently a member of numerous organisations such as Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Nigerian Association for Educational Administration and planning (NAEAP), the International Academy of Business and Public Administration disciplines and British Educational leadership, Management and Administration. Aside from her current responsibility as a top-level technocrat, Ubabudu is a chartered NIM management consultant practitioner.

Table 1
The Telephone Lines in Service from 1960 to 2005

Year   Fixed Line   Mobile Line   Teledensity   Mobile lines
                                  fixed line

       0000                       1000

1960   18.724                     0.04
1986   214.108                    0.275
1987   235.398                    0.295
1988   266.784                    0.325
1989   275.149                    0.327
1991   290.000                    0.3625
1992   330.000                    0.3900
1993   370.000                    0.4110
1995   390.000                    0.4201
1996   400.000                    0.430
1998   410.00       30.000        0.4315        0.0222
1999   420.000      30.000        0.4421        0.315
2001   440.000      400.00        0.4400        0.4200
2002   492.000      678.600       0.4920        0.536
2003   608.790      1,702.460     0.500         1.31
2004   767.233      4,102.400     0.6138        3.02
2005   1,200.000    12,800.00     0.96          10.24

Source: Nitel Lagos 1991-2005; Telecommunication Overview 2005; the
Guardian May 18.

Table 2
The Selected Networked Readiness of Countries and the Position of
Nigeria

Country                    Number

United States of America   1
Iceland                    2
Finland                    3
Sweden                     4
Norway                     5
United Kingdom             10
New Zealand                11
Korea                      20
Japan                      21
France                     24
Malaysia                   36
South Africa               40
Mexico                     44
Egypt                      60
Zimbabwe                   70
Nigeria                    75 *

Ajakaye T. A. (2005). Telecom Business in Nigeria. University of
Lagos.
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