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NCC knocks telecom providers
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently cautioned telecom providers operating in
Nigeria on the need for improved performance and services. The warning was given during the last Consumer Parliament held in Lagos. According to the Executive Vice Chairman / CEO of NCC, Mr. Ernest Ndukwe, "quality of services leave so much for desire", while entry costs and tariffs are still high. "Still, the number of complaints about poor service delivery is still unacceptably high, and it has been taking too long to address them."
Telecom operators were advised to abide with global standards, while promoting transparency and accountability to the public.
Global System of Mobile communications (GSM) operators were singled out and advised to stop "charging for services you do not render to your consumers". Of particular concern to him was giving customers value for money, and stopping misleading adverts.
Ndukwe said that it was wrong and did not conform with international best practices for GSM operators to continue to charge N100 from subscribers migrating from billing option to another.
Although the Commission has warned operators about these excesses on several occasions, no operator has been sanctioned yet. However, to show its seriousness and determination in this matter of migration billing, NCC followed this verbal warning with a letter to the chief executives of MTN and Vee Networks, accusing the operators of flouting the verbal directive and threatened to sanction them if, they were unable to stop the illegal charge for subscribers who were migrating to another billing platform.
Ndukwe also advised against misleading advertisements. He specifically directed that Reliance Telecommunications, a popular PTO, should withdraw a misleading advert, which it is currently running. According to Ndukwe, important facts that would aid right decision-making about the service are missing from the advert or are in very small print in the advert.
At the forum Nitel was also advised to address the issue of inappropriate mass disconnection and try to meet up with consumers' demands. In fact the performance of Nitel is a sore point for most of its subscribers.
Vmobile was however commended for its increased coverage in the country.
NCC has rightly identified that poor performance and exploitation of subscribers is rife within the telecom industry. Telecom companies must stop thinking of profit only - give back to the community - give value - spending money on promotions with poor service is poor PR! It is hoped that the NCC will put sustainable and enforceable measures in place to address this malaise.
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April 30, 2008
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