NCC to regulate data depletion for telecom consumers 

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo

The Nigerian Communication Commission stated on Thursday that it will take steps to regulate data depletion and make sure telecom consumers got their money’s worth.

According to NCC, Data depletion is one of the most common complaints from telecoms consumers.

The Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Prof Umar Danbata made this statements at the 91st edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament tagged, “Data depletion: discussions on various perspectives” held in Abuja.

The Punch reported that majority of the complaints, according to Danbata, were brought on by the recent switch of the customer to 4G/LTE technology.

Speaking through the Director, Licensing and Authorisation, Muhammed Babajika,the EVC highlighted that the 90th edition, which was held in Lagos in June of last year and at which industry participants were brought together to discuss the theme “5G Technology: Possibilities and Challenges,” precedes this one.

However, he claimed that as a result of the 90th TCP event, the commission has improved its ability to handle type approval of devices resulting from the introduction of 5G.

It has also stepped up its efforts to inform telecom users about the advantages of 5G, particularly with regard to the faster data speeds.

Speaking about the depletion of data, the EVC noted that customers have been losing data due to either data usage or consumption, and they have been reporting this to the commission on a regular basis.

He added the COVID-19 lockdown brought about rapid incentives in the use of data-enabled devices for communication whether for school, corporate, or social interaction.

In his words,” This deliberation could therefore not have come at a more auspicious time, as Nigeria moves with the rest of the world towards 5G technology following the issuance of 3.5GHz spectrum licenses to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, MAFAB Communications Limited and Airtel Networks Limited.

“It is therefore important that we completely appreciate and understand the issues surrounding data depletion, its is the usage and consumption in the era of 4G technology before we fully commence 5G usage.

“It is against this backdrop that the commission invited the key industry players today to dialogue on the theme:’ Data Depletion: Discussions on Various Perspectives to understand the various perspectives on this prevalent issue, identify the possible causes, and brainstorm on the way forward.”

The programme was planned such that the Regulator, the Industry and the Consumer Advocacy Groups will touch on the issue of data exhaustion as seen from their respective perspectives.

The head of NCC further stated,” As much as the Commission has an obligation to the telecom consumer, it also has an obligation to the Industry; a symbiotic relationship in which one party cannot survive without the other.

“The consumers are the basis for the operator’s business; if their interests are ignored, the operator’s investments would collapse, and there would be no industry for the commission to regulate.”

He, however, touched on the need to look into data depletion in order to improve services and customer experience.

“It is thus expedient that we utilize opportunities presented by the Commission’s high-level outreach events such as this Parliament to genuinely exchange ideas on how to reduce the challenges militating against effective service provision to the barest minimum, ” he said.

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