NCC engages stakeholders on curbing data depletion

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by Jessica Dogo

The Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said it had engaged stakeholders on how to curb data depletion in the country.

Danbatta, represented by Muhammed Babajika, Director, Licensing and Authorisation, spoke at the 91st edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament, (TCP), held in Abuja on Thursday.

The theme of the programme “Data Depletion: Discussions on Various Perspectives”, was to understand the various perspectives to the prevalent issue, identify the possible causes and brainstorm on the way forward.

He said that data depletion was one of the most prevalent complaints received from telecom consumers in the country.

Danbatta said most of the complaints come as a result of the consumers’ recent migration to 4G/LTE technology.

The EVC said that issues about 5th Generation technology, opportunities and challenges were prominent in the 90th Edition of the TCP, which was held in Lagos on June 23, 2022.

Danbatta said the commission, as a result of the 90th event, had increased its capacity to handle type approval of devices as a result of the introduction of 5G

He said consumers have been experiencing depletion of their data either as a result of data usage or consumption, adding that they were constantly informing the NCC of their experience.

Danbatta said that the nation struggled with the effect of the COVID-19 lock down, which necessitated an upsurge in the use of data-enabled devices for communication whether for school, work, or social interaction.

The EVC said: “This deliberation could therefore not have come at a more auspicious time, as Nigeria moves with the rest of the world towards 5G technology.

“This followed the issuance of 3.5GHz spectrum licenses to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, MAFAB Communications Limited and Airtel Networks Limited.

“It is therefore important that we completely appreciate and understand the issues surrounding data depletion, its usage and consumption in the era of 4G technology before we fully commence 5G usage.

“It is against this backdrop that the Commission invited the key industry players today to dialogue on the theme.”

Danbatta said the programme would have representatives of the Regulator, the Industry and the Consumer Advocacy Groups present issues of data depletion as seen from their respective perspectives.

“As much as the commission has an obligation to the telecom consumer, it also has an obligation to the Industry; a symbiotic relationship in which one party cannot survive without the other.

“The consumers are the basis for the operators’ business; if their interests are ignored, the operators’ investments would collapse, and there would be no industry for the Commission to regulate.

“It is thus expedient that we utilise opportunities presented by the Commission’s high-level outreach events.

“Events such as this Parliament to genuinely exchange ideas on how to reduce the challenges militating against effective service provision to the barest minimum,” he said.

Mr Ayanbanji Ojo, Head of Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, said the redesigned TCP had deepened the engagements for the benefit of telecom consumers.

He said: “It is our responsibility to ensure that the consumers’ voices are heard and that their complaints are addressed by the relevant stakeholders.

“I enjoin you all to make the most of the 91st Telecom Consumer Parliament, which will help to reinforce more efforts aimed at protecting telecom consumer interest and ultimately promoting a healthy telecom industry for all.” (NAN)