NCC: The ‘Illegal deduction’ of subscribers’ data is not ‘illegal’
The issue of illegal deduction and rise in data consumption of Nigerian telecommunication subscribers by the Mobile network operators has been lingering for a while. Several people have shown their displeasure to the relevant authorities to intervene in curbing the excesses of the Telecom operators and demand reasons for experiencing early data depletion and alarming rise in data usage.
Addressing this issue and related matters at the monthly briefing on Short-Term Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by agencies under the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Communications, to the Hon. Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and other officials of the ministry, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta made a presentation that:
– Highlights data-draining factors on consumers’ phones
– Reveals initiatives to address key industry issues
He noted that, the experience of early depletion and rise in data consumption by telecoms consumers are not necessarily as a result of ‘illegal deductions’ or ‘sharp practices’ by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) but more as a result of varied factors.
Prof. Danbatta spoke extensively on what the NCC has been doing in key areas of its regulatory mandate which includes:
- reduction of cost of data,
- stemming the tide of ‘illegal deduction’ of data,
- addressing the issue of invalidly-registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards; as well as
- efforts in ensuring continuous compliance with the maximum 2 percent Call Drop Rate (CDR) directive to telecom operators on Quality of Service (QoS) delivery.
Each of which Danbatta and Directors in the Commission took turns to discuss extensively with the Minister.
He said “The ‘illegal deduction’ of subscriber data was not in the real sense of the word illegal and was also not as a result of any proven ‘sharp practice’ by the operators.”
“The reasons for the rise in data consumption and depletion, which is classified by some users as ‘illegal deduction’, include the advancement in technology, which has led to the rise in applications, updates and services that leverage on this technology and advancement of supportive data infrastructure.” – Prof. Danbatta
Other factors are increase in video-based advertising content by social media companies which in some cases are layered on free services offered by the companies; auto updates of apps on the phone over mobile data network without any sort of prompting or intervention by the user of the mobile phone.
In another presentation, Engr. Bako Wakil, the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, emphasized that while regulatory efforts are ongoing towards a downward review of cost of data and improved quality of data services for telecom subscribers, the drivers of the cost of data provision and quality of service in Nigeria are, however, not entirely within the control of the Commission.
These data provision drivers and factors include:
- Right of Way (RoW) issues,
- Fiber cuts,
- Multiple taxations,
- Insecurity and power outages
- As well as site access denial that tend to temper seamless service provision.
In curbing proliferation of pre-registered SIM cards in the country, Prof. Danbatta expatiated on a broad-based identity management database solution being worked on to permanently curb the menace.
He said, “In view of the grave impact of pre-registered SIM cards and other SIM-related crimes on national security of the country arising from this challenge, the Commission is considering implementing a robust Identity Management Solutions to curb the menace once and for all as the telecom sector transit into a new SIM Card Registration Regime based on the Mandatory Use of National Identity Number (NIN) Regulations issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).”
Speaking on Call Drop Rate (CDR), Danbatta said, based on its monthly monitoring of operators’ level of Quality of Service (QoS) delivery, “the CDR across all mobile networks this year has been below 1 per cent threshold, a situation that has steadily and relatively improved QoS of telecoms consumers.
The Hon. Minister, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami commended the NCC for doing well in enlightenment on consumer issues and other ongoing initiatives, adding that “we can re-strategize and heighten campaigns in all media, especially in local languages.”
All said, the measure of improvement in the telecommunication sector is still arguably lies with the subscribers who are the end users, which means every effort being put in place by all the stakeholders in the industry must translate to a satisfactory and happy customer.
Share your views and experiences about data consumption with your Mobile Network Operator, let’s discuss.