31 January 2013

Nigeria: Stakeholder Warns NCC Against Fresh Plans to Lift Promo Ban

A telecoms lawyer, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, has called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) not to be in a hurry to lift the ban on promos and lotteries, insisting there is no significant improvement on service quality.

NCC had on November 8, 2012, placed an indefinite ban on all telecoms promos and lotteries, blaming poor service quality on promos and lotteries that created congestion on the networks.

But in what looks like a change of mind, NCC said it would lift the ban, if it found out that service quality had improved.

Reacting to media reports that trailed the commission's plan to lift ban on promos and lotteries, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, told THISDAY that he was becoming worried with the way people discuss telecoms activities in the country, as if nothing is going on right in the telecoms industry.

He insisted that the industry had done so well in boosting communications among Nigerians, creating jobs for Nigerians and contributing to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of the economy.

"What is wrong if NCC decides to lift the ban, after the assessment of its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) test result on all networks, and the result of the test showed positive improvement?" he asked.

He insisted that the ban was not a punitive measure, but a corrective measure to strengthen networks.

According to him, "NCC placed a ban on all telecoms promos and lotteries in order to address unhealthy competition among telecoms operators, that were using unrealistic promos as bait to win more subscribers to their networks, and in the process, cause serious congestion across the networks."

As a regulator, we deal with operators according to the stipulated laws that empower the commission to control the industry, and our role is pure regulatory, Juwah told THISDAY.

Disturbed that NCC may soon lift ban on telecoms promos and lotteries, Ogunye said: "NCC must not be in a hurry to lift the ban, since there is no significant improvement on service quality across networks, otherwise the purpose of placing the ban in the first place, will be defeated."

He said: "Subscribers have the right to know the level at which telecoms services have improved, that will warrant lifting of the ban, and if NCC wants its decision to be processed-based, then it should generate a public survey that will respect the rights of subscribers to make impute, in assessing service quality in the country"

"What is the empirical method applied by NCC to start thinking that it can rescind its decision on promo ban, without recourse to subscribers. NCC has a responsibility to protect subscribers and should continue to exercise that right, as a regulator of good standing," Ogunye told THISDAY.

He warned that NCC should not give subscribers the impression that some form of settlement might have taken place, in order to avert an earlier situation where a member of the National Assembly had to rise and accuse his fellow lawmakers of conniving with telecoms operators, to shield them of their excesses, which were in turn, causing untold hardships on the subscribers.

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