We are aware of challenges with rapid growth in ICT sector —Dambatta

· Reduces porting period from 90 to 45

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Garba Umar Danbatta, has said that the regulatory body was aware of the challenges that came along with the rapid growth of the industry.

Danbatta, who was represented by Mr Ubale Maska, the Executive Commissioner for Technical Services, NCC, spoke during the 78th edition of the Telecommunications Consumer Parliament (TCP) in Lagos, last week.

“In fulfilment of its mandate as prescribed by the NCC Act, 2003, NCC has consistently strived to ensure that Nigerians have access to quality services at affordable prices.

“The industry’s challenges over the years have been that of provision of acceptable quality of service on a consistent basis.

“The non-technical factors, which affect quality of service, are erratic power supply, vandalism of infrastructure, multiple taxation, right of way issues, as well as security challenges at mobile base stations,” Danbatta said.

He said TCP was a platform where stakeholders were engaged in an interactive session.

He said that it provided a unique opportunity for consumers of telecommunications services to be informed and be educated on burning issues in the industry.

He said that consumers could freely express their views and expectations in the presence of the service providers and the regulator.

Also, the NCC, it was said, has reduced the 90 days Mobile Number Porting (MNP) period to 45 days, an ICT expert, Mr Ayoola Oke, disclosed last week.

Oke of ICT Derivatives Ltd., made this known in a presentation at the TCP event.

He spoke on the theme ‘Regulatory Responses to Consumer issues over the last one year: A Retrospect.’

The ICT expert said that porting was introduced two years ago to make it easier for consumers to change their networks and still keep their numbers.

According to him, consumers have to remain on the new network for at least 90 days before they can move to any other network.

“But consumers have kicked against this, especially when they discover that the new network is worse.

“So, the initial period before a consumer can port again has been reduced by half, from 90 days to 45 days.”

“The commission has also worked with the operators to make porting faster, and while it generally took a few hours before the average time, based on efforts of the commission in the last one year, it has gone down from five to 20 minutes,” he said.

Oke said that porting customers initially lost some services such as bank alert messages, which had now been rectified.

He added that the Value Added Service (VAS) providers have been integrated into the back end of the porting services.