Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi, NCC Commissioner
Stakeholders in the telecoms industry have called on the regulatory body of the sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to be mindful of the way they regulate the industry, in order not to scare away future investors and investments in the sector.
The call was made to the NCC, following its ban of all forms of promotions and lotteries offered by telecoms operators last Monday, for continued deterioration of the service quality to subscribers.
The ban on all promos, which is expected to last until further notice, affects the four GSM operators; Globacom, MTN, Airtel and Etisalat, and Visafone, Multilinks and Intercellular in the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) sub-sector. Starcomms is not affected.
National President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, (ATCONS), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, who spoke to THISDAY, opined that although the intention of the ban might be well-intentioned by the regulatory body, it should endeavour to always have all concerned parties at heart, before carrying out its duties.
According to Ajayi, “I understand the intention from which the ban was made by NCC, in a view to reduce the volume of traffic on the network; and since it’s a temporary one, we hope that the problem will be solved soon.
He, however, stated that the NCC should put all concerned parties to perspective, and always streamline from both sides (the operator and the subscribers) before acting.
Ajayi explained that if the regulatory body continued to look at the angle of the subscribers alone without considering the challenges faced by operators and the harsh working environment, they might just scare away future investments.
He said: “Most of the operators were recently faced with the challenge of damage to hundreds of their infrastructures through bomb attacks and flooding. I believe that if given more time and support, they will be able to reach the required level of performance.
“While I honestly understand that there is a need to address the network challenges, these operators should be allowed to market their products to subscribers and potential subscribers.”
Meanwhile, the President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, has said that the ban on all promos and lotteries, come with a combination of happiness and sadness of telecoms subscribers.
Ogunbanjo explained that the promos were a way for most operators to give back to the society, while empowering Nigerians. “Some of the subscribers who hitherto would not be able to recharge their phones and speak with their friends and loved ones see the promo as a channel to gain bonus recharges as well as reduced tariffs,” he said.
He further explained that the promos which was a source of joy to some subscribers, brought anguish to others because of the drop call rates, and poor service quality witnessed recently.
According to him, “NCC has definitely stated to bite. First, with the fine on telecoms companies, and now, a ban on all promos and lotteries; we are in line with what NCC is doing if it will bring about a steady network, but they should tread gently.”
A number of telecoms subscribers who spoke to THISDAY also affirmed what the president of the association said. According to them, if the ban of the promos will improve the networks, it is accepted, but it should not be banned for long as most of the subscribers also benefited from it.
NCC placed a ban on all promos and lotteries for networks, with a claim that it had been inundated with several complaints from consumers and industry stakeholders against the various promotions offered by telecommunications operators in the country, which seems to be congesting the networks in recent times.