In a proactive move, telecoms subscribers under the aegis of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), have called on the incoming board members of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to consider quick improvement on service quality as well as the elimination of unsolicited text messages, as soon as they get the nod of the National Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last week, forwarded the seven names as members of the Board of NCC to the National Assembly for ratification, but the lawmakers are yet to respond to the list that is currently before them.
They are: Mr. Sunday Dare, Mr. Aliyu Saidu Abubakar, Mr. Clement Obeiza Baiye, Chief Okoi Ofem Obono Obia, Pastor Ezekiel Yissa and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume with Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye serving as Chairman of the Board.
Although they are yet to get the nod of the assembly members, NATCOMS said it would be proper to intimate them of the challenges of the telecoms sector and prepare their minds towards addressing the issues, as they await the approval of the National Assembly.
President of NATCOMS, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, who spoke on behalf of telecoms subscribers, said the issue of poor service quality and unsolicited text massages may likely ground telecoms operations in the country if not nipped in the bud. He said telecoms services are deteriorating across networks and subscribers are debited for poor voice clarity and undelivered text messages. He also expressed worry over the incessant broadcast of unsolicited text messages, despite several complaints from subscribers and subsequent warnings from the NCC.
Ogunbanjo therefore called on the incoming board members to take the issue of poor service quality and unsolicited text messages very seriously as soon as their appointments are ratified. The board, he said, must enforce the use of the CODE 2442 in order to stop unsolicited text messages to subscribers.
Aside service quality and unsolicited text messages, Ogunbanjo also called on the incoming board members to look into the issue of price cap regulation for possible amendment.
“The NCC has been operating the N50 Price Cap Regulation since 2001 to date. The board should, as a matter of urgency, reduce the current unrealistic and exploitative price cap of N50 per minute,” Ogunbanjo said.
He also said there was need for the new board to address the issue about restoration of land lines by the national carriers, backed by a low inter-connect rates in line with international best practices.
“The current land line inter-connect rates, does not encourage the use of land lines.
In order to reduce cybercrime, the new board should interface with the Police and other law enforcement agencies in order to make mobile phone/cybercrime reporting process, easy and less cumbersome. The current mobile phone/cybercrime reporting process is very stressful, cumbersome and excessively engaging,” Ogunbanjo said.
He also said the new board should put in place a subscribers’ compensation plan, which will offer subscribers with free airtime, anytime telecoms operators perform below the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) parameters as set by the NCC. The current practice where operators fall short of KPI parameters and huge fines imposed on the operators, which go to government coffers, is to say the least, highly exploitative and unsavory of the subscribers who suffers the injury and the brunt of poor quality service and other unauthorised deductions.