NCC restates commitment to protect telecoms consumers

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has restated its commitment to protecting, informing and educating telecoms consumers in the country.

Addressing journalists, on Monday, at the occasion to mark this year’s World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta, said the Commission declared 2017 as the Year of the Telecom Consumer.

He said the press conference was conceived to highlight NCC’s commitment to protecting the telecom consumers and to highlight the regulatory role of NCC with respect to protecting the Rights of the Telecom Consumers and to connect it with the global significance of today’s celebration.

He said the declaration was in recognition of the central place the consumer occupies in the telecom ecosystem and in the emergent digital economy. In the same year, the World Consumer Rights Day focused on “Better Digital World”.

Professor Danbatta further said the declaration and the focus by WCRD 2017 emphasised the need to build ‘a digital world consumers can trust.’

He said the theme for World Consumer Rights Day for 2021 is, ‘Tackling Plastic Pollution. “Activities and actions slated for this commemoration are to raise awareness and engage state and non-state actors on the global plastic pollution crisis,” he noted.

He said the Commission had collaborated with the Officer of the National Security Adviser and other relevant agencies to inaugurate a committee to implement Mobile Device Management Systems.

“The Commission, worried by the recurrent cycle of fraudulent deployment of fake and substandard mobile devices – usually made of iron and plastic components, collaborated with the Office of the National Security Adviser and other relevant government agencies to inaugurate a committee to implement Mobile Devices Management Systems (DMS).

“This initiative is designed as a Public-Private Partnership aimed at combating the proliferation of fake, counterfeit, substandard and cloned communication devices in the telecommunications industry.

“The expected result of this initiative is that only genuine materials malleable to enduring usage are available for consumer use. The Commission also implemented a strict type-approval process that ensures all equipment used in the telecommunications industry are of a suitable standard, both for the good of the consumers and for the preservation of our environment.

“This coincidental connection between the 2021 theme for World Consumer Rights Day, “Tackling Plastic Pollution”, and the proactive initiatives of the Commission towards protecting the environment as well as efforts on tackling electronic waste in Nigeria tells the story of a shared vision for a satisfied consumer,” Professor Danbatta said.

The NCC boss said the Commission had made declarations to curtail excesses of some operators and to expand the frontiers of freedom for the consumers.

“Warnings had been handed out and fines have been imposed on erring operators. Determinations have also been made by the Commission to ensure consumers are neither shortchanged nor denied their privileges and rights.

“The NCC demonstrated the foregoing to reveal the extent it could go to defend and protect the interests of telecom consumers; and to successively restate its commitment to its ethos of fairness, firmness and forthrightness – the doctrinal tripod of its regulatory mandate.

“The Commission has ensured full compliance with Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards registration guidelines by the service providers and telecom consumers. This is to ensure proper registration to stop the use of improperly-registered SIMs, which usage is difficult to track.

“We have made arrests and prosecutions in the past in this regard and through this effort, we have been able to sanitize the telecoms ecosystem of improperly-registered SIM cards that pose threat to national security”, he added.

He said the specially created toll-free number 622 and Do-Not-Disturb (DND) shortcode 2442, are as active as ever.

Professor Danbatta said they are emplaced respectively to enable consumers to escalate unresolved complaints earlier reported to service providers, and to manage unsolicited messages.

“Just last month, we provided evidence that “NCC’s DND crashes unsolicited SMS by 96.6% in three years.”

“Also, the results we are getting through the NCC Toll-free Number 622 has been phenomenal. Thousands of complaints have been received from consumers and escalated by the Commission to service providers for a quick resolution to the satisfaction of affected consumers.

“In our latest report, of the 11,327 genuine consumer complaints received through the 622 between 2019 and 2020, 11,288 which translate to 99.1 per cent, have been successfully resolved,” he noted.

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