Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has noted malpractices in the telecommunication sector and expressed commitment to protect subscribers from cheating firms and operators.
NCC made the pledge at its 98th Consumer Outreach Programme held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.
Alhaji. Ismail Adedigba, Deputy Director of the Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, noted that the event was to provide telecom consumers with necessary tools to protect them from market exploitation and fraud.
Adedigba, said the NCC through its regulatory mandate ensures that the consumer is the “king” as such must be accorded their rights which included the right to be heard, right to be educated, right to choose, right to safety.
Adedigba said the decision of the NCC to initiate regular consumer-operator-regulator meetings was based on the complaints.
He said the complaints were about unsolicited text messages and calls, failure/refusal to roll over unused data at the expiration of data bundles by service providers.
Others are, automatic renewal of data services upon expiration and activation/subscription to data and value added services (VAS) without prior consent of the subscribers and call masking.
He said the NCC in response to the complaints developed a 2442 DND Short Code to solve unsolicited text messages.
“At NCC, our objectives is to ensure that consumers get value for their money, and we acted by issuance of direction to service provider on Data Roll over.
“The directive now enables consumers to roll over unused data for period of time, ranging from one day to seven days, depending on the subscriber’s data plan. It took effect from 21st of May,’’ he said.
NAN reports that more than 2,000 telecom consumers turned up for the event.
They were taken through necessary tools that would allow them make rational and informed decisions when making choice of services, including the new toll free number 622 for complaints to the NCC.
The Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau of the NCC, Mrs Felicia Onquegbuchulam, spoke on the theme “Using information and education as tools for consumer empowerment and Protection’’.
She said the consumer Outreach programme was one of the initiatives of the NCC to bring together telecom subscriber in the rural areas with the Network operators and the regulators.
She said the aim was to discuss and proffer solutions to consumers’ related issues and ensure consumers had the value for money through effective service delivery.
“The forum seeks to educate telecom consumers and other stakeholders of contemporary issues generating interest in the industry.
“It also serves as a feedback mechanism for the commission in making regulatory interventions for the benefit of the consumers and the service providers as well as the industry as a whole’’, Onwueguchulam said.
The consumers who lodged several complaints at the Complaints Desk applauded NCC for the event and urged them to make it a regular one.
Mr Tonye Yemoleigha said that the base stations in the state were spilling diesel into the surroundings as well as the generating sets at base stations were polluting the environment with noise.
He urged NCC to ensure that operators complied with the guidelines on the location of base stations.