There are speculations that the Nigerian Senate may probe telecom operators over the persistent unsavoury quality of service (QoS) consumers have been experiencing.
This speculation arises from the recent motion moved by Abdulfatai Buhari, representing Oyo North Senatorial District, and 20 others, entitled: “A motion on the increasing rate of dropped calls and other unwholesome practices by telecommunications network operators in Nigeria.”
Explaining the cause of the motion, Buhari accused the network providers of using the dropped calls to defraud users. He added that subscribers are charged for calls despite not getting value for it. He further indicted the telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) of not doing enough to curb the trend.
According to him, “Despite the warning issued by the NCC to telecom operators using the dropped call mechanism to defraud Nigerians by deducting money from phone users illegally, no serious penalty has been issued against any operator to date.”
Of special mention in the motion is the issue of drop calls and SIM registration.
While moving the motion, Buhari noted that due to the kid-glove manner in which the regulator handles the operators, drop call complaints have persisted.
Echoing Buhari’s views, Senator Patrick Abba Moro, representing Benue South Senatorial District, said that the regulator should be held liable for the infractions of the network providers because they have not placed adequate sanctions that will deter the operators. “Regulatory agencies are not doing enough, dropped calls have become a problem. In addition to sanctioning network providers, our regulatory agencies must also be held responsible,” he said.
The Senators were also called to question the service of the digital satellite television operator, DSTV, noting that subscribers are not getting the worth of their money.
In his response, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan promised that there will be a probe into the activities and services of the TV service company: “This time will be different. We pay through our noses and we are unjustifiably treated by these network providers. Everybody comes here and treats us differently. The DSTV and others do almost the same thing. At the appropriate time, we will have a public hearing.”
It will be recalled that subscribers had in the past laid complaints against the tariff, quality of service, content and general customer insensitivity by Multichoice, operators of GoTV and DSTV. The South African-owned company at a point swapped its bouquets on GoTV in a bid to shield the hike in the tariff of existing bouquets.
The Senate President noted that the 9th Assembly will insist that the regulators put their feet down in dealing with operators who are not working towards good service to Nigerians: “The NCC and other relevant agencies will be put to test. We feel they are inefficient and they are not doing enough. We are going to bark and bite this time around. If it requires blacklisting the operators, we will do that.”