Nine months into the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC’s) ‘Year of the Consumer’ campaign geared at ensuring that Nigerian telecommunication consumers are offered the best in consumer experience, the Commission says it is ready to review implementation of the initiative to enable it strategize for the next line of action.
Speaking at the sideline of the 5th Meeting of the National Council of Communications and Information Technology in Katsina, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, said only 500,000 telecom subscribers had activated the NCC’s 2442 short code to stop telemarketing and other unsolicited text messages on their phones before the commencement of the campaign.
Danbatta also revealed that as a part of the successes recorded by the campaign about 10 million Nigerians have already activated the Do-Not-Disturb facility made available by the agency.
“We embarked on the campaign specifically with the regards to two important issues. One is, Do-Not-Disturb facility as we had received a lot of complaints that many consumers received unsolicited text messages and for which they are unfairly being charged. We dedicated a facility that will stop those messages from coming to the handsets of the consumers,” he told dignitaries which included the Minister of Communications, Bar Adebayo Shittu and the Katsina State Deputy Governor, Arch Mannir Yakubu.
Continuing, Danbatta said, “We have been sensitizing consumers on how to take advantage of this facility by sending STOP to 2442. Prior to the commencement of the campaign less than 500,000 Nigerians activated the code. As I am talking to you now, close to 10 million Nigerians have activated it”.
He reiterated that the other component of the campaign was to sensitize Nigerians about the NCC’s toll-free line (622), which consumers can use to lodge complaints with regards to Quality of Service (QoS) and other related services.
“There’s also another important aspect of the campaign, educating the consumers on the existence of emergency call centers. One is being constructed in each state of the federation in order to provide reprieves to people in distress, those who require ambulance service, fire-fighting services and those in need of attention from the police, using another toll-free line, 112,” he noted.
The NCC had, in the first quarter (Q1) declared that it has made the consumer the focus of its regulatory activities for 2017, which explains the proactive approach the current management of the Commission has towards issues that affect the consumer and on a large scale the entire industry.
The Minister of Communications had earlier informed that the NCC has carried out a technical review, following widespread complaints by consumers, about deteriorating Quality of Service (QoS) experienced from November last year to February this year, which prompted the Commission on the strength of the findings, to summoned the major operators to a meeting at which it warned that provision of poor quality services is not acceptable and that the consumer cannot be short-changed.
This move has been applauded by consumers who also worry that going into the Yuletide, quality of service should be at the peak of telecom operators’ task.