Telecom operators risk NCC sanctions over drop calls

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The Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC) on Friday warned telecommunication operators against defrauding Nigerians through dropped-calls from their networks.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Umar Danbatta, who gave the warning in Kano said the incidence of drop calls was becoming intolerable in the operation of the telecom companies.

“Dropped call rate is the fraction of the telephone calls which, due to technical reasons, are cut off before the speaking parties finish their conversation,” Mr. Danbatta explained.

The NCC boss, who presented the Commission’s eight-point agenda during the meeting, said dropped calls were being used by some telecom providers to deduct money from phone users illegally as the fraction was usually measured as a percentage of all calls.

He said that the Commission had put in place mechanisms to ensure regulatory excellence and operational efficiency to maintain commitment to transparency.

Mr. Danbatta said part of the measures was for NCC to monitor calls, pointing out that any call that was not a dropped-call and was charged would be detected and the telecom provider sanctioned.

“There is a limit to which a call can be dropped,” he said. “We have put in place parameters to monitor what is happening, especially as regards dropped calls. This will locate the operator, to ensure that they maintained standards.

He said when these parameters were analysed, the NCC would be able to detect the dropped calls from service providers, and the operator’s attention would be drawn to enable it to address the problem.

If the Commission does not notice any sign of improvement on dropped call rates, the NCC Vice-Chairman said the Commission would have no option than tom sanction the erring operators.

“Operators should know that they are being monitored by the NCC. The day of reckoning when their activities would be made public will soon come,” he warned. “Erring operators would be identified and necessary regulatory action would be taken to improve the quality of service to Nigerians.”

He, however, assured members of the public that the issue of monitoring the cognitive performance indicators was key to NCC, in line with its commitment to always protect consumers’ right, adding that Nigerians should utilise the Commission’s 622 call number to send complaints for official attention.

He reiterated the Commission’s resolve to continue to protect consumers from unfair practices through the availability of information and education they required to make informed choices in the use of ICT services in the country.

The Commission, he said, was working on ways to improve data access in the country, despite the challenge of inadequate facility to support the project, expressing the hope that access to the Internet would be free in Nigeria in the nearest future.

”We are working on plans to improve data access in Nigeria and it is captured in the eight-point agenda of the Commission. This would ensure that at least services were available, accessible and affordable to consumers,’’ he said.

(NAN)

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