NCC to boost protection for 154m telecoms consumers

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By Love Anuforo

 The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has mapped out plans to liberate over 154.4 million telecoms consumers from suffering in silence in the hands of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

Saddled with the responsibility of ensuring hitch-free communication, as well as quality service from the MNOs, the Commission has, for the first time, singled out the consumer to be placed atop the stakeholder ladder of the industry.

To achieve its plan to strengthen consumer protection, the NCC has flagged off the Lagos leg of its 2017 Year of Nigerian Telecom Consumer programme.

The commission, during the flag-off described Lagos as home to many of the key players in the telecommunications sector. Also, it went ahead to lay emphasis on the position of the state as the telecommunications hub of Nigeria.

Danbatta,also explained how strategic Lagos is as regards  telecoms industry.

Citing the statistics from the National  Bureau of Statistics (NBS)  in its first quarter telecommunications sector report for 2016, Danbatta said Lagos voice subscriber base is placed at 19.04 million or 12.8% of the country’s subscribers and 12.62 million internet subscription or 13.65%.

The programme, according to the commission, will feature series of activities all through the year, aimed at safeguarding the rights, protecting the interests, as well as empowering the consumer to make informed decisions.

Speaking at the flag-off ceremony, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said that the NCC year of consumer initiative is geared, not only to ensure that consumer enjoys a customer experience; but also to have an improved experience consistent in time and quality.

Danbatta, who stated that the initiative is a derivative of the 8-Point Agenda of the Commission, the scheme is focusing on two major areas of improving the Quality of Service (QoS); as well as protecting and educating the consumer.

Highlighting some of the activities the NCC has rolled out to protect telecoms consumers, the country’s telecoms chief regulator listed the 2442 Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code and the 622 toll-free complaints line as some of the key initiatives.

To address the unsolicited calls received by consumers is the DND facility, where consumers are urged to activate the facility by texting 2442,” he said.

However, the NCC is said to have also deployed numerous activities in its strategic plan to facilitate, as well as ensure positive results from the initiative.

As part of efforts to realise the NCC 2017 Year of the Consumer, NCC has placed a demand on MNOs as well as infrastructure providers for an immediate improvement of the quality of services. This is to ensure the consumer gets value for money as well as a satisfactory user experience,” the EVC revealed.

According to him, there are sanctions for failing to meet Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as NCC will not hesitate to enforce them and might consider making them even more stringent.

Also speaking at the event, the NCC’s Executive commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Mr. Sunday Dare, added that the commission will continue to engage the MNOs, as well as other critical stakeholders in a constructive way to ensure that QoS across board is achieved.

The Commission, Dare said, will ensure that consumer is educated about the environmental and health impacts of the telecoms infrastructure, as well as the type of phones approved for use.

ýýAlthough the consumers being the major focus, the NCC further disclosed that it seeks to engage and monitor, as well as ensure the interests of all parties, operators and consumers; are respected.

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