NCC Plans Stiffer Penalty for Telcos, Focuses on Consumers

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Emma Okonji

Two months after it launched the campaign of the Year of the Nigerian Telecom Consumer in Abuja, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), wednesday, took the campaign to Lagos, where it promised telecoms consumers of protection and empowerment that would enable them to make the right decisions.

Speaking at the Lagos campaign, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said: “NCC will use the consumer campaign to inform and educate subscribers with the sole intent of protecting and empowering them to make the right decisions.”

As part of efforts to realise the NCC 2017 Year of the Consumer, I have convened a meeting with mobile network operators (MNOs), and infrastructure providers to demand that the quality of services must be improved upon immediately. This is to ensure that the consumer gets value for money and gets satisfactory user experience. There are sanctions for failing to meet key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and NCC will not hesitate to enforce them and might consider making them even more stringent, Danbatta said.

He explained that the 2017 Year of the Consumer would focus on two areas: improving the quality of service and protecting and educating the consumer.
In order to address the challenge posed by unsolicited calls and text messages received by consumers, the NCC has introduced the Do Not Disturb (DND) facility, where consumers are urged to activate the facility by texting the word ‘STOP’ to 2442. NCC also introduced a customer toll free complaint line where customers could call free of charge to do follow-up on the text message sent, especially when there is delay in response from the text message sent, Danbatta said.

He said improved quality of service as well as the protection and empowerment of consumers, were core drivers of the NCC year of the consumer initiative, as enshrined in the 8-Point Agenda of the commission, that was released in 2016.

He further explained that NCC would increase the awareness level and equally the activation level of the two initiatives. Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare who also spoke at the Lagos campaign, said NCC had deployed several activities in its strategic plan to run a successful year of the consumer campaign with the support of the operators. Across the country the grassroots oriented NCC Consumer Conversations now take place in six locations simultaneously across the country once every month. Road shows, Radio jingles, town hall meetings and a medley of consumer outreach programmes are ongoing. Continuous monitoring of KPIs, and benchmark is ongoing too on a quarterly basis to ensure that the quality of service does not deteriorate, Dare said.

The Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Mudashiru Obasa, who was represented by one of the members of the House, assured consumers in the state that the state government would continue to protect their interests and provide the necessary infrastructure that would make life more meaningful to them.
Telecoms operators present at the launch, also assured subscribers of their support, with promises to offer the best of service quality.