Nigerians were put in a state of confusion severally after certain directives were issued by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) in 2020.
These directives, according to the commission, were solely for security reasons, and in the best interest of the citizens.
The directives raised a lot of concerns amongst Nigerians as they took to social media to express their concerns.
Here are some of the directives from NCC in 2020.
Blocking of sim cards not linked with NIN
Arguably, this year’s most dramatic and controversial directive is the blocking of sim cards not linked with a National Identity Number (NIN).
The ministry of communication and digital economy, through the NCC, earlier directed telecom operators to link all sim cards to NIN within a space of two weeks and to block defaulters.
This directive was a resolution after a meeting between Isa Pantami and the heads of agencies.
This directive sparked-up criticism among Nigerians on social media considering various reasons which includes; the pandemic, the festivity, epileptic power and network supply. The date, however, was extended by an additional three weeks which is now January 19, 2021.
Despite the extension, many Nigerians are still struggling to obtain their NIN as they were seen clustered at the entrance of the office of the National Identity Management Commission.
The official website of the commission was down days after the directive was given because the agency was not prepared to handle the traffic on the site.
Suspension of sim card sale and registration
The NCC had directed telecommunication operators to stop all sales and registrations of sim cards across the nation.
This directive was to ensure the compliance of operators to the audit exercise which began in 2019.
The objective of the audit exercise is to verify and ensure compliance by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) with the set quality standards and requirements of SIM Card Registration as issued by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Commission.
Accordingly, MNOs were directed to immediately suspend the sale, registration and activation of new SIM Cards until the audit exercise is concluded, and the Government has conveyed the new direction.
Here are some reactions from Twitter users:
“Reading this… Why is the service provider claiming they can’t retrieve Sim at this moment… Pls you guys should do something @airtel_care nd @GloWorld @AirtelNigeria
— Beebzo (@itsbeebzo) December 20, 2020
I hope this doesn’t take till eternity cos the sim registration business put food on a lot of Nigerians tables. This has render(ed) a lot out there jobless especially this celebration period.
I hope this doesn't take till eternity cos the sim registration business put food on alot of Nigerians tables. This has render alot out there jobless especially this celebration period.
— UbiLoveson (@loveson_patrick) December 14, 2020
How long will the audit last? It is only a third-rate agency, run by incompetent f*ols that would announce a national audit without a timeline.
Cancellation of NIN retrieval charges across all networks
While some Nigerians were struggling to enrol and obtain the NIN, others who had enrolled were retrieving their NIN on their mobile devices at the cost of N20.
The telecommunication operators charged subscribers who were following the directive.
The Minister of Communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami, instructed that the charges on the USSD be removed by the operators.
Subscribers who have their NIN in the past but have forgotten the numbers were required to pay a token.
A statement shared with PREMIUM TIMES said Mr Pantami ordered the cancellation of all charges across all networks to make the process easier..
Rolling over of unused data
When subscribers are unable to exhaust the purchased data, the unutilised balance will be carried over to the next subscription.
The NCC gave this directive in September 2020 after a bi-annual meeting with senior executives of telecommunication companies on complaints management.
Although this policy was established in June 2018, it was reinforced in 2020.
While giving the directive, the NCC requested that telecommunication operators educate their consumers on the procedures and processes for data rollover.
This means that when a subscriber is not able to finish his data and the month or period is exhausted, the network provider will have to take it over to the next subscription for that consumer after a process has been taken.
Sim card policy
The ministry of communications and digital economy and the NCC revised a policy on sim card registration and usage.
The policy allows an individual to have a maximum of three sim cards.
No unregistered SIMs are ever allowed on mobile networks.
Subscribers can easily check the number of SIM cards registered to their name, along with the associated phone numbers and networks.
It also deactivated sim cards that have been used to commit crimes.
The policy allows only fully accredited agents to support the SIM card registration process without pre-registering SIM cards themselves, while the eventual registration should be done by the operators.
Resolving consumer complaints in 48 hours
Consumers can call 622, NCC’s toll-free number after complaining to service providers and not getting a response.
Umar Danbatta, the executive vice-chairman of NCC said the agency will ensure that all complaints are attended to within 48 hours.
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.
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.
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