Prof, Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated the Commission’s effort in protecting and empowering the consumer.
According to the EVC, the consumer is king, hence the Commission’s consumer-centric regulatory initiatives in ensuring consumer protection, information and education have continued to top NCC’s agenda.
In further creating more empowerment for consumers, the Commission introduced the Do-Not-Disturb (DND), 2442 Short Code in 2016, which gave consumers the power to opt -in or -out of unsolicited messages on their respective networks.
The NCC prioritised consumer satisfaction by declaring 2017 as “the Year of the Consumer”, setting out with different projects to bring telecoms consumers closer to the Commission and their various network operators.
The NCC Toll-free Number 622 was also upgraded as secondary complaints mechanism in a bid to further empower and resolve consumer complaints.
The Commission gave directives on Data Roll-over and another on Forceful Subscription of Data Services and Value-added Services (VAS). Following these two directives, telecoms consumers have enjoyed effective protection.
In 2019, the Commission revised the NCC Consumer Complaints and Service Legal Agreement (CC/SLAs) with telecom operators to ensure that consumer complaints are swiftly responded to while also getting to review the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations at a Public Inquiry.
Prof. Danbatta said that the NCC initiated the Mobile Devices Management Systems (DMS) in partnership with other agencies with the aim of ensuring consumer protection from the negative effects of substandard devices on the networks and the health of telecom consumers.
On full implementation of the DMS project, it will help in fighting the proliferation of fake, counterfeit and cloned communication devices in the telecommunications industry.
In a similar vein, the NCC has developed E-Waste Regulations. This will ensure that the Commission gets empowered to rid the environment of indiscriminate disposal of malfunctioning and disused gadgets, which poses health risks to consumers.
Also, according to the EVC, the Commission has ensured the protection of lives and property of telecoms consumers through getting rid of improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.
The NCC conducts a periodic audit of the network services to ensure that improperly registered SIM cards are not harboured by the MNOs on their networks.
According to Prof, Danbatta, nineteen (19) Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) have been activated across the country. The 112 National Emergency Number allows Nigerians in distress to get help in emergencies.
Following its role in ensuring security of lives and properties of Nigerians and by implication, promoting the protection of telecoms consumers, the NCC has received special recognition.
The 112 number has become a major channel of communication during this COVID period as over one thousand two hundred and nine (1,209) COVID-19 related calls were made to the 112 national emergency toll free number between March and June 2020 from the various ECCs across the country.
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