The Nigerian Communication Commission, (NCC) on Thursday announced plans to introduce measures to curb data depletion for telecom consumers.
The NCC disclosed this during the 91st edition of the telecom consumer parliament (TCP) tagged “Data depletion: discussion on the various perspectives”, held at the NCC’s Communications & Digital Economy Complex, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Umar Danbatta, said the issue of data depletion has become one of the most prevalent complaints received from telecom consumers in the wake of their recent migration to 4G/LTE technology.
Data Depletion occurs when a subscriber exhausts his or her data bundle before the expiration date or when more data volume is utilised for accessing an online content.
Mr Danbatta, represented by Muhammed Babajika, the director of licensing and authorisation at the NCC, said consumers have been experiencing depletion of their data either as a result of data usage or consumption, and are constantly informing the commission of their experience through various complaints channels.
He explained that the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for the global explosion of new technologies which opened up an array of services, dynamic business models and new opportunities and markets globally.
“The Nigerian telecom industry was not left out, going by the documented upsurge in the use of computers, smartphones, smart watches, and other technology-dependent devices which have given consumers access to multi-functional comfort and utility.
“Technology has eased interaction for a majority of the populace using social and instant messaging applications. No doubt, the underlying technology for these services is the internet, which drives connectivity.
“It is within the context of the subscription and usage of the internet that consumers are experiencing what they refer to as abnormal depletion of their data, which gives rise to the reason we are here today,” he said.
He added that Mobile Network Operators all over the world have had to face challenges occasioned by emerging technologies.
“This deliberation could therefore not have come at a more auspicious time, as Nigeria moves with the rest of the world towards 5G technology following the issuance of 3.5GHz spectrum licenses to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, MAFAB Communications Limited and Airtel Networks Limited,” he said.
He noted that while 4G offers better download speeds, higher bandwidth and voice quality than 3G technology, 5G technology provides the additional benefits of ultra-high speed data, low latency and higher bandwidth over 4G technology.
“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.
“The interests of the telecom consumer is of paramount importance to us and as the telecom regulator, we have the responsibility of ensuring that the consumer’s voice is heard, and that the relevant authorities address their complaints,” he added.
He explained that it is against this backdrop that the commission invited the key industry players today to dialogue to understand the various perspectives to this prevalent issue, identify the possible causes, and brainstorm on the way forward.
“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 utilize opportunities presented by the commission’s high-level outreach 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.
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