Telecoms: NCC Begins Review of Operating Standards to Boost Service Quality

Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday, began a review of the regulatory instruments in the telecommunications sector with a view to improving the quality of service (QoS) standards in the sector.

To achieve this, the NCC is putting forward six regulatory instruments for amendments. These includes the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations, 2013; the Commercial Satellite Guidelines and the introduction of Corporate Governance Guidelines for the Communications Industry.

Others include the amendment of the Competition Practice Regulations, 2007; Numbering Plan Regulations as well as the introduction of Data Protection Regulations for the communications industry.

The NCC Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, while addressing stakeholders in Abuja, said the regulatory instruments being considered for review, were critical to improving the communications sector, which would enable it meet the demands of the ever-evolving digital age.

According to the him, the laudable advancements in the sector confers greater responsibility on the part of the government to ensure that there exists an enabling environment for the industry to thrive, through the introduction and amendment of key regulatory instruments.

According to the EVC: “The communications sector is at the fore-front of innovation and advancements in technology geared towards driving economic growth and societal development.”

Danbatta stressed that the public inquiry afforded an opportunity to critically examine and provide valuable insights on the draft instruments.

He urged all the participants to engage in meaningful and constructive discussions and elicit issues that would explore the potential strengths and weaknesses of the draft regulatory instruments, identify areas for improvement and propose innovative solutions to address the challenges ahead.

Also speaking, the NCC Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, Miss. Helen Obi, said the amendment of the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations, 2013, was vital to maintaining and enhancing the standards of service that consumers receive.

Obi also said the proposed amendment to the QoS Regulations were meant to introduce stricter performance standards, more robust monitoring mechanisms and more transparent reporting systems that will improve the overall customer experience.

“More importantly, these changes will also drive operators to enhance their networks and services through efficient deployment and network optimisation processes. Clearly, these expectations will ultimately foster a culture of continual improvement which is essential for the competitiveness and vitality of our industry,” Obi said.

She added that the amendment of the Commercial Satellite Guidelines would provide clearer procedures for licensing and operation of satellite communications services, promote the use of satellite technology for deepening broadband penetration for national development and ensure compliance with international obligations.

 “In addition, we are introducing Corporate Governance Guidelines for the Communications Industry. These Guidelines will set a clear framework for operators, ensuring that their operations are transparent, accountable, and adhere to international standards of corporate governance,” she explained.

The NCC, she stated, was also introducing Data Protection Regulations for the Communications Industry. In order to establish a robust framework for data privacy, ensuring that operators respect the rights of individuals while also leveraging on data for innovation and growth.

 “Subsequently, we look to the amendment of the Competition Practice Regulations, 2007. This instrument has been at the heart of ensuring a level playing field for all operators in our industry.

Yet, as the industry changes, so must our Regulations. The proposed amendments aim to strengthen our anti-competitive behavior checks, enhance consumer welfare and encourage innovation among operators.

“Finally, we look to the amendment of the Numbering Plan Regulations. These Regulations will ensure the orderly assignment and use of numbers that are central to the operation of any communications system.

The proposed changes will allow for more efficient use of number resources, support the introduction of new services and better align our numbering plan with international best practices,” Obi added.

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