13 November 2012

Nigeria: NCC Bans Telecoms Promos, Lotteries

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Monday placed an indefinite ban on all telecoms promotions and lotteries.

Director, Public Affairs for NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, who gave the hint, said the decision became necessary, following increased congestion across networks that was traced to incessant promos and lotteries.

The ban according to Ojobo, would cover all proposed and approved promotions and lotteries on which the Commission had given approval further to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC).

"This ban is with immediate effect and shall continue to remain in force until such a time as may be determined by the Commission," Ojobo said.

The operators affected by the ban include: Globacom, MTN, Airtel, Etisalat, Intercellular, Visafone, and Multilinks.

Giving reasons for the ban, Ojobo said promotions had increased the number of minutes available to subscribers for use within a limited period of time thereby creating congestion in the network as subscribers try to use up the available minutes within the stipulated time.

He also said that on-net calls were now being offered by operators at tariffs well below the prevailing inter-connect rates thereby introducing anti-competitive practices and behaviour.

Another reason he gave was that termination of calls were becoming increasingly difficult from one network to another and overall consumer experience on the networks had become very poor thereby making it extremely difficult f

or subscribers to make phone calls successfully.

He said the commission had, in recent times been inundated with several complaints from consumers, and industry stakeholders against the various promotions offered by telecommunications operators.

He added that the commission carefully evaluated the complaints received especially against the backdrop of sustaining the integrity of the networks, the general interest of the consumers, the socio-economic impact of the promotions on operators and other relevant stakeholders.

He assured consumers of NCC resolve to ensure that the service quality offered across all networks was such that delivers value to the consumers.

The commission, he said, would remain mindful of its statutory responsibilities to protect and promote the interest of consumers against unfair practices, promote fair competition in the industry by protecting operators from misuse of market power and anti-competitive and unfair practices by other operators.

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