The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it undertook a revision of the framework stipulating the processes for resolving consumer complaints arising from service delivery by telecoms operator in order to achieve greater effectiveness in the sector and to strengthen the protection of telecoms consumers and other stakeholders.
Tagged: Complaints Categories and Service Level Agreements (CC/SLA), the framework was revised by the Commission in November 2019 at a programme attended by representatives of telecoms operators, consumers and other consumer rights advocacy groups in the country.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC) of NCC, said “The 2019 review of the CC/SLA, in collaboration with operators and other stakeholders, was essentially to strengthen effective and prompt resolutions of consumers complaints by reviewing the timelines, broaden and streamline complaint categories and establishing applicable sanctions on operators that fail to meet the timelines stated for resolving issues related to services delivery to their consumers.”
In the reviewed CC/SLA, with respect to the broad category of Quality of Service and Quality of Experience (QoS and QoE) in the data segment, when a telecom subscriber experiences fluctuation in service, such as instability in the Internet services, the subscriber shall be contacted by the service provider within four hours of reporting the incident and the disruption shall be restored within 72 hours.
If the matter is escalated to the Commission, the consumer is expected to receive feedback within two hours, while the Commission ensures the issue is resolved within 48 hours.
Additionally, the subscriber shall be offered an apology and the expiry date of his data bundle shall be extended by the number of days the disruption lasted.
Under the broad category, ‘Billing’, complaints connected to any unexplained change in account balance resulting in a drop in balance, due to overcharging subscriber’s account for calls, Short Messaging Services (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), shall be resolved by the operator within 24 hours. Should there be a need by the subscriber to escalate the complaint to NCC, the Commission shall ensure the matter is resolved within 12 hours.
The subscriber shall be notified of resolution and where applicable, compensated with five percent of overcharged amount which is payable daily to the consumer for every 24hrs of default.
Similarly, within the framework of QoS/QoE in the voice segment, the revised agreement stipulates that, when there is call interference or challenge with voice clarity, resulting in the inability of a subscriber to carry out uninterrupted conversation, the subscriber shall receive response from the service provider within four hours of reporting the incident and the service provider shall ensure the challenge is resolved within 72 hours.
Should there be a basis for the subscriber to escalate the matter to NCC, the Commission shall revert to the subscriber within two hours of receiving the report and ensure that the matter is resolved within 48 hours in line with the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations and the subscriber shall be communicated.
Also, under the new CC/SLAs that have now come into force, in the case of Sales Promotion and Advertisement, when a subscriber does not receive (within stipulated time) bonus or incentives won during promotions, the service provider shall resolve the matter within 12 hours of receiving the complaints, instead of 24 hours as stipulated in the hitherto existing categorisation and agreement.
Should the matter be escalated to NCC, Commission shall ensure it is resolved within six hours in line with the Guidelines on Advertisement and Promotions. As in all cases, the subscriber shall be communicated on steps taken towards resolution of complaints.
Similarly, in the expansive category of Call Centre/Customer Care, the NCC agreed with stakeholders that when a subscriber is unable to connect to Call Center or Service Provider Help Line, the matter shall be treated by the Service Provider within four hours of receiving the report.
Where the matter is escalated to the Commission, NCC shall ensure that the issue is resolved within two hours of receiving the complaints, and steps taken towards resolution shall be communicated to the subscriber in all circumstances.
On matters connected to faulty terminals, such as defective devices that stifle a subscriber’s ability to use phones, modems, routers and related devices appropriately, the Commission said such incidents shall be resolved based on Terms and Conditions for all devices.
Meanwhile, Danbatta equally stated that matters relating to Base Transceiver Stations (BTS), such as problems arising from installation and location of base stations, masts or towers, shall be resolved by the concerned operator(s) within the 48 hours, as stated in the revised CC/SLA.
In case the Commission is notified by the affected consumer, the matter shall be referred, immediately to Commission’s Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department, which shall ensure resolution of the matter within 48 hours and inform the complainant accordingly.
The EVC added that the CC/SLA document, which is available on the Commission’s website, contains 17 broad categories and about 90 subcategories.
He enjoined all stakeholders, particularly the telecom consumers, to create the time to study the document in order to understand their rights and privileges.
NCC Says 78.9m Nigerians now Connected to Broadband
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that the number of Nigerians connected to high-speed internet rose to 78.9 million in June.
The data from the commission showed that telecommunications operators in the country added 2.2 million customers to their broadband database in the month to raise the figure from 76.6 million recorded in May.
This raised the country’s broadband penetration from 40.14 per cent in May to 41.27 per cent at the end of June.
The steady growth in penetration has been attributed to the telecoms operators’ aggressive push for deployment of 4G service across the country. To extend the service to more Nigerians, the largest mobile network operator in the country, MTN, recently announced more investments targeted at building more 4G infrastructure
MTN said it planned to spend an estimated N600 billion on technical infrastructure over the next three years as it looks to expand its 4G coverage across the entire country by 2024
The Federal Government also recently launched a new National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) with a target of achieving 70 per cent penetration in the next five years.
This followed the expiration of the NBP 2013-2018, which delivered 31 per cent penetration as of December 2018.
Aside from the 70 per cent penetration target, the government in the new plan also raised the benchmark speed for broadband service in Nigeria to 25 megapixels per second, which is an improvement from the 1.5mbps benchmark in the 2013-2018 plan.
Gilat Telecom, Spacecom, Unite to Bolster Satellite Services in Africa
Spacecom, operator of the AMOS satellites fleet, and Gilat Telecom, a connectivity service provider, have announced a collaboration “to develop a faster, more reliable and more cost-effective satellite service for organisations of all sizes across Africa.”
The service uses Spacecom’s AMOS-17 fully digital and advanced High Throughput Satellite (HTS) on both C and Ku band, and Gilat Telecom’s unique SD-WAN MAX technology.
The companies add that the service, available immediately, can be used for home and office connectivity including video conferences, e-health applications, e-learning, e-education, etc.
They add that the collaboration will benefit African MNOs and ISPs in several ways including CAPEX savings and higher throughput at reduced operational costs.
“Spacecom’s AMOS-17’s HTS fully digital payload enables cross-connection between all beam and all bands enabling the use of existing equipment which can also be set-up remotely by the end customers (on existing or new terminals). Using Gilat Telecom’s intelligent routing, capacity can be expanded by up to 20% (the equivalent of 6 Mbit/s can be achieved from a 5 Mbit/s downlink),” the companies state.
Another benefit is smart traffic management. The companies explain: “Gilat Telecom’s SD-WAN enables service providers and MNOs to centrally control the route that both satellite and fiber traffic takes to and from the customer.
It enables different applications – voice, streaming, caching (Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft cloud services etc.) – to be identified with automatic prioritisation, according to the customer’s needs and demands.”
Dan Zajicek, Spacecom’s CEO said: “This partnership enables us to boost the services offered to customers along with fast returns on investments to these growing markets. We are sure this fruitful cooperation will lead us to many great business opportunities in Africa.”
Asaf Rosenheck, Gilat Telecom’s CEO also said, “We are an innovative company always focused on how we can improve the service we provide to our customers. Our partnership with Spacecom demonstrates how we work across the ecosystem to drive down costs and improve capacity”.
Encomiums as Sonny Aragba-Akpore Bows Out of NCC
It was encomiums galore recently as Management and Staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) bid the Commission’s Head of Media Management and Public Relations, Sonny Aragba-Akpore, farewell following his retirement.
Aragba-Akpore, former Information and Communications Technology/News editor at the Guardian Newspaper, joined the service of the Commission in 2014.
Speaking at the valedictory party held in his honour on Thursday, which was attended physically and virtually by staff of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, appreciated the level of professionalism Aragba-Akpore brought to bear on his work at the Commission.
Represented at the event by Abigail Sholanke, director, Projects, Danbatta commended Aragba-Akpore for using his many years of industry experience and knowledge as a media professional and corporate communication manager to create a robust relationship with both mainstream and online media stakeholders, which, he said, has contributed significantly to the overall positive image and favourable public perception of NCC.
“On behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of Commission, we wish you a successful retirement and fruitful engagements in your future endeavours,” Danbatta said.
In his remarks, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, director, Public Affairs Department, said “within the short time I worked with Mr. Aragba-Akpore, I found him to be a man of uncommon passion for his work,” describing him as a very committed and hardworking colleague.
“We, therefore, wish you increased divine favour, as you retire from the services of the Commission.”
Other staff of the Commission, including directors, deputy directors, middle management staff, among others, took turns to talk about the favourable working relationship they had with Aragba-Akpore while at the NCC and wished him well in his retirement life.
Responding, Aragba-Akpore expressed gratitude to the Management and Staff of the Commission for their support and cooperation during his service and for organising a befitting valedictory ceremony in his honour, saying he enjoyed working with the NCC.
“This is one event I will not forget in a hurry. Indeed, I feel I am very lucky and singularly blessed and very appreciative of the privilege to work with a leading telecoms regulator like the NCC. For me, it is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.
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