NCC moves to curb data depletion, wrong deductions of airtime

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it had tightened the noose against data depletion and illegal deductions by telecommunications firms through an ongoing forensic audit for maximum protection of consumers.

The move is to check the rising complaints by subscribers in the country. NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the disclosure when he received the Man of the Year 2020 award from MoneyReport magazine in Abuja.

A statement yesterday by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, quoted the EVC as noting that while consumer protection remained a focal area of the commission’s regulatory activities, it had accomplished significant improvements in this direction through various initiatives geared at making mobile operators consumer-centric.

Danbatta said through the audit, NCC plans “to get to the bottom of why consumers are experiencing data depletion and the possibility of compensating them for wrong deductions, which may arise from short message service (SMS).”

“We have instituted and insisted that despite the fall in data price, the forensic audit must be concluded, with the outcome communicated to the CEOs of telecoms companies,” he added.

While appealing to Nigerians to await the findings, Danbatta said operators would be made to comply with directives given post-investigation with a view to ensuring maximum protection for telecoms users.

He said the commission had framed frequently asked questions (FAQs) on data depletion to inform consumers on activities that may result in faster depletion of their data, as well as enlighten them on measures to mitigate such. The FAQs are accessible on the commission’s website.

Over the years, NCC has guarded consumers through sustained awareness and education on rights and privileges. It was for this reason that the commission declared 2016 as the ‘Year of the Consumer’ with elaborate programmes to concretise its commitment to their protection via information and education.

The regulator has also intensified its compliance monitoring with acquisition of efficient tools and skills to bring sanity into the industry for improved consumer experience.

Among several initiatives, Danbatta said introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) had helped over 30 million consumers to block unsolicited text messages on their phones, while stern regulatory actions were constantly taken by the regulator against operators that prevented consumers from subscribing to the service.


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