The executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Danbatta, has explained how the telecom industry is sustaining service delivery to subscribers during the pandemic.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by Ikechukwu Adinde.
Mr Danbatta listed critical regulatory actions that have been taken by the commission to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on quality of service (QoS) delivery by the networks to telecom consumers.
While speaking at the virtual Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) hosted with the theme: ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Telecoms Service Delivery’, he said the agency in collaboration with the supervising ministry developed e-platforms to handle all requests from the licensees to ensure that regulatory services are provided to sustain service delivery to subscribers.
According to the statement, the commission approved and encouraged resource sharing among network operators and secured right of passage for all telecommunications companies and suppliers for easy movement during the lockdown.
These measures enabled the operators to service their base stations and ensure seamless services for telecom consumers who increasingly relied on the networks during the pandemic.
The Telecom Consumer Parliament is NCC’s flagship forum for in-depth engagement with service providers to discuss issues of contemporary interest affecting consumers of telecom services in the country.
With the pandemic, some telecom operators and platforms are reporting a demand spike, especially in data usage and volume of calls as high as 800 per cent since the outbreak of the pandemic, he said, citing an International Telecommunications Union report.
Mr Danbatta said the commission and the mobile network operators needed to play their roles in sustaining quality of service delivery and quality of experience by the consumers.
Mr Danbatta said the NCC, working with the ministry, is resolving the problem of high cost of right of way (RoW) with the Nigerian Governors Forum.
He noted that through such engagements, the state governors have lent their support for a robust broadband infrastructure.
“The commission is hopeful that with the reduction in RoW, which will automatically result in reduction in capital expenditure by the network operators, telecom companies will, sooner than later, reciprocate the gesture by making their services more affordable to Nigerians,” he said.
The statement revealed that regulatory efforts have also resulted in a presidential approval directing security agencies to protect information and communication technology and telecom facilities as critical national assets.
The statement said this has helped to safeguard telecom infrastructure for the greater role telecom has to play with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Danbatta advised the service providers to constantly upgrade and expand their network capacity in order to deliver top-notch QoS to their consumers.
A panel session of telecoms operators, who participated virtually in the TCP, addressed issues of network capacity upgrade, change in consumer data consumption behaviour, implementation of agreed Consumer Complaints and Service Level Agreement.
Also, consumer education as well as general issues around quality of service and quality of experience by the over 192 million telecom consumers in the country were discussed.