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Internet Connectivity: NCC assures protection of telecoms consumers’ rights, interests remains core mandate

*The Nigerian Communications Commission intensifies its Campus Conversation initiative, focusing on the protection of rights, privileges and interests of telecoms consumers, while offering practical tips on various ways to manage their mobile Internet data

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has restated its commitment to protection of telecoms consumers’ rights, privileges and interests as the Commission’s core mandate.

Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of the NCC Board of Commissioners, noted this Thursday, May 11, 2023, at the 5th Edition of NCC Campus Conversation held at the University of Ibadan (UI), in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

Akande that acknowledged the telecoms sector regulatory Commission had been inundated with constant complaints from consumers on fast depletion of especially their Internet data.

Rationale for campus conversation programme  

The Commission at the forum also sensitised the students of the University on how to manage their data usage on mobile telecommunications networks to reduce the rate of data depletion, as well as cybersecurity and Child Online Protection (COP), agency report said.

Akande, represented by Mrs. Afure Iloka, Special Assistant to the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, said that consumers’ complaints constituted the reason the Commission, through its Consumers Affairs Bureau (CAB), embarked on sensitisation exercise.

The Board Chairman further noted this is to educate telecommunications consumers on various ways to manage their Internet data.

Key objectives of consumer sensitisation exercise

In regard to the benefits of the student-oriented consumer sensitisation programme, Prof. Akande stressed the campus conversation initiative seeks to educate students on the various consumer-centric initiatives of NCC towards protecting the telecoms consumers against unfair practice by service providers.

The Chairman further stated: “This initiative is consistent with the mandate of the Commission to protect, inform and educate the Nigerian telecoms consumers.

“One of the mandates of the Commission is the ‘protection of the rights and interests of consumers.’ ”

He said: “This can only be achieved when consumers are well-informed and educated on their rights and obligations as telecoms consumers.

“This conversation is also in tandem with the Strategic Management Plan (SMP 2020-2024) of the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, which is to improve quality of experience and stakeholders’ satisfaction.

“The conversation strengthens our focus on the protection of the rights, privileges and interests of telecommunications consumers, including people living with disability and the elderly through information dissemination.”

How to manage high rate of data depletion

Speaking at the forum in Ibadan, Mr. Ayanbanji Ojo, Head of Consumers Affairs at NCC, who spoke on the topic, “Data Depletion Issue: Tips on Data Usage for Better Quality of Experience”, explained that a telecoms consumer would experience high rate of data depletion when such a consumer turns on automatic updates of apps, videos and pictures to the cloud on smartphones.

Ojo said that faster download speeds due to 4G coverage and downloading on higher defaults video formats like 5G and 4G compared to 3G and 2G mobile networks could also result in high rate of data depletion.

He informed the students that they have a right to complain to the Commission in case telecoms companies fail to resolve their issues.

“When you bought data that is supposed to last for a period, [but] unfortunately, it finished before the end of the period, that is what we called data depletion.

“Our duty is to keep on informing our consumers, to educate them to know what they are into,” he said.

Consumers are key in sustainable ecosystem, says Ojo

According to the Head of Consumers Affairs at the Commission, without consumers, there will be no NCC.

He noted: “We have a code called 622; (when) you dial it, it will take you to our agents.

“We have agents that will pick up your calls and speak with you in your language of choice.”

Ojo further explained “the essence of it is that we know that telecommunication companies may not be able to resolve your complaints.

“We want to give telecommunication consumers another platform to be able to complain. Dial 622.

“The moment you send the message, it will be relayed to us.”

The Head of Consumers Affairs as well disclosed that consumers could manage their data usage by the use of data compression in phone browsers, disable mobile data when Internet connection not needed and by reducing video streaming quality from video sites, such as YouTube.

Nigerian youths are greatest assets in telecoms ecosystem: NODITS Chief

In his remarks at the sensitisation programme Mr. Babagana Digima, Team Lead, Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sectors (NODITS), also emphasised the Nigerian youths remain greatest assets within the telecoms ecosystem in the West African country.

Digima, an engineer, noted that involvement of youths in indigenous telecommunications innovation would bring fresh perspectives and new ideas, which would drive a meaningful change in the indigenous telecommunications sector of the economy.

UI students seek more support from NCC

In her contribution to the Campus Conversation, Mrs. Adewole Adeyinka, President of the Students Union Government (SUG), University of Ibadan, applauded the efforts of NCC at data usage sensitisation initiative and other programmes targeted at youths development across the country.

Adeyinka, however, urged the Management of the Commission to improve on its support programmes for students through provisions of laptops and other educational materials to enhance smooth academic process.

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