Subscriber group seeks NCC’s collaboration to strengthen consumer protection

The Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers (ATCIS) has assured of its readiness to collaborate with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to promote the rights, interests and welfare of the ever-growing telecoms subscribers in Nigeria.

Speaking through its President, Prince Sina Bilesanmi, at a meeting with NCC in Abuja, the group said that since one of the agenda of the Commission is promoting subscriber’s satisfaction, it was poised to advance a mutually-beneficial relationship with the Commission on all fronts, with respect to the protection of the over 185 million subscribers under its watch.

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“We believe that working together, we will also bring the regulator closer to its core stakeholders (consumers) and make demands occasionally on behalf of the consumers. We believe this is a quicker way of getting to the regulator and to bridge the communication gap and promote co-operation,” said Bilesanmi.

Bilesanmi also appealed to NCC to try to reduce tariffs of data and voice services, and to ensure affordable and reliable Internet service for subscribers. The advocacy group also appeal to the Commission to ensure there is no automatic fix charge and non-charges for drop calls.

The group also request NCC to make MNOs to grant subscribers voice and data-free day every Independence Day (October 1) in Nigeria, as a way of appreciating the consumers, who are the important stakeholders of the telecoms industry.

Responding, the NCC said, though the demands brought forward by ATCIS to the Commission are multidimensional, it was ready to collaborate with any stakeholder that offer suggestions that may move the industry forward. He stressed that industry collaboration is part of the Commission’s 8-Point Agenda.

“We are all stakeholders and subscribers in the industry. Despite some challenges, we are always working with the operators to improve the quality of service,” said Hafsat Lawal, Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, who led the NCC’s team to receive ATCIS delegation on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta.

Lawal also stressed that the issue of quality of service (QoS) is a function of many factors, some of which are environmental. For instance, it is doubtful if “any operator will deliberately wish its consumers experience poor network or drop call on its network because those issues will affect the revenue of the operator.”

The challenges, according to her, have to do with vandalism of telecom infrastructure and closure of base stations by communities where telecom installations such as base stations and fibre optic cables are sited or laid respectively.

Lawal also told the ATCIS that its request for collaboration will be conveyed to NCC Management for review and necessary action.

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