NCC charges telcos on improving quality of service delivery

L-R: Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr. Ephraim Nwokonneya; Director, Policy Competition and Economic Analysis, Ms Josephine Amuwa; Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu; Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta; Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Mr. Efosa Idehen; Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil, and Director Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, all of Nigerian Communications Commission, during the 1st Virtual Telecom Consumer Parliament (VTCP) organized by the Commission in Abuja on Friday.

Telecom operators in Nigeria have been charged to constantly upgrade and expand their network capacity in order to deliver top-notch Quality of Service (QoS) to their consumers.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta gave the charge at the first edition of the Virtual Telecom Consumer Parliament (V-TCP) hosted by the Commission in Abuja on Friday, 21st August, 2020 with the theme: Impact of Covid-19 on Telecoms Service Delivery.

Danbatta, while harping on the need for improved service delivery. siezed the moment to disclose the regulatory actions that have been taken by the Commission to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on quality of service (QoS) delivery by the networks to telecom consumers.

He said according to an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) report, some telecom operators and platforms are reporting demand spike, especially in data usage and volume of calls, as high as 800 per cent since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Regardless of this, Danbatta said the Commission and the mobile network operators needed to play their roles in sustaining quality of service delivery and quality of experience by the consumers, who are critical stakeholders in the telecoms sector.

Disclosing that the commission in conjunction with the supervising Ministry developed e-platforms to handle all requests from the licensees to ensure that regulatory services are provided to sustain service delivery to subscribers, Danbatta also stated that the Commission also approved and encouraged resource sharing among network operators and secured Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecommunications companies and suppliers for easy movement during the lockdown.

In his explanation, he said these measures enabled the operators to service their base stations and ensured seamless services for telecom consumers who increasingly relied on the networks during the pandemic.

Furthermore, the commission’s Executive Vice-Chairman revealed that the NCC is working with the ministry to resolve the problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW). He added that engagements with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) have yielded support from state governors towards achieving a robust broadband infrastructure across the country.

“The Commission is hopeful that with the reduction in RoW, which will automatically result in reduction in capital expenditure (CAPEX) by the network operators, telecom companies will sooner than later reciprocate the gesture by making their services more affordable to Nigerians,” he said.

Also, listing as part of efforts to afford operators a secured and supportive business environment that will encourage improved quality of service, Danbatta stated that regulatory efforts have also resulted in a Presidential approval directing Security Agencies to protect Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and telecom facilities as critical national assets. This he said has helped to safeguard telecom infrastructure, which played a critical during the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

In his remark earlier, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Barrister Adeleke Adewolu showed the various Quality of Service (QoS) indicators for the second quarter of the year across the networks and how the consumer Quality of Experience compared with the parameters based on the voice of the consumer survey (VoxPop) conducted by the Commission.

Adewolu highlighted further the challenges facing operators, which impact negatively on quality of service to include fibre cuts, vandalism and theft of telecommunications site equipment.

The TCP session, which was moderated by the Director, Consumer Affairs, NCC, Mr. Efosa Idehen addressed issues of network capacity upgrade, change in consumer data consumption behavior, implementation of agreed Consumer Comuplaints and Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA), consumer education as well as general issues around quality of service and quality of experience by the over 192 million telecom consumers in the country.

The Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) is NCC’s flagship forum for in-depth engagement with service providers to discuss issues of contemporary interest affecting consumers of telecom services in the country.