NCC To Tackle Bad Telecom Services With 6-Point Agenda

The industry consumer advisory forum, ICAF, set up by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, last week, drew 6-point agenda aimed at taming the unsolicited text message and other bad services which subscribers have consistently regarded as parasite to their meagre economies.

This  follows the allegation by the National Association of Telecom Subscribers, NATCOMS, that its members lose in excess of N30 billion monthly due to poor telecommunications services.

The loss which amounts to about N360 billion yearly, according to the group, included those the subscribers incur from deductions the telecom operators make on their accounts through unsolicited text messages, automatic data credit  removal, ‘ringtone services, jobs & other services messages, borrow me credit services and other credit depletion services.

President of the Association, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, at  the fourth quarter meeting of the telecoms Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) in Lagos yesterday, said the development was pure violation of consumer rights.

He described the situation as a rip-off and challenged the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and other relevant authorities to come to the aid of the Nigerian subscribers by some enforcements that would put a stop to the menace.

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Ogubanjo said that his association came to that statistics with calculations of several deductions ranging from N200 and above from these unwanted messages, adding that when multiplied among the over 150 million active subscribers, the amounts is even far from that estimation.

He described unsolicited SMS’s are a modern scourge, plaguing our mobile phones with unwanted adverts and offers, often from network operators and dodgy companies.

According to him, telecoms operators in Nigeria are regularly taking advantage of Subscribers on their network in many ways.

“These ‘a-little-at-a-time credit depletion syndrome’, ‘a little everyday credit depletion syndrome’, ‘automatic data credit removal syndrome’, ‘ringtone, jobs & other services depletion syndrome’ as well as ‘borrow-me credit over-deduction syndrome,’” he said.

“Putting together all the diagnostic credit depletion syndromes employed by telecom operators and the value added service providers in unsolicited SMS, automatic data plan / service renewals and unauthorized credit depletion and removals, the average Nigerian subscribers loses a modest minimum of N200 to telecoms operators every month.

“By multiplying N200 by the 150 million subscribers in the country, this amounts to loss of N30 billion for subscribers monthly and in a year, the loss is estimated at N360 billion,” he said.

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However, chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, reacted that on the issue of unsolicited text messages, which is impinging on the quality of service deliver, all hands must be on deck.

“We all must work together as stakeholders. The regulators, the operators as well as the consumers must take collective responsibility on the state of quality of service. he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications said it was going to ensure that rip off of consumers from these kinds of unwanted services stops.

Director Consumer Affairs of the NCC, Alhaji Abdulahi Maikano, said that the NCC was going to engage the operators to see a way out for the health of the industry.

He however warned that these are not the kind of infractions that subscribers would expect the commission to impose fines on the operators. The event wound with a communique which resolved the following :

* That service providers should progress from customer satisfaction to positive customer experience for all their subscribers.