Lagos and Abuja — Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, has hinted that the commission may soon order telecommunication operators to refund illegal deductions from subscribers.
Danbatta, who disclosed this at a parley with the media in Abuja, yesterday said the illegal deductions were made in five months.
He said 58,965,478 total Active Broadband Subscription on 3G and 4G platforms was recorded as at November 2018.
Danbatta explained that Internet subscription grew from 107,547,723 in October 2018, to 108,897,679 in November 2018, while Active Voice Subscriber base grew from 165,239,443 in October 2018 to 169,104,830 in November 2018.
The commission also disclosed that Nigeria has exceeded 30 per cent broadband penetration target, as it the record stood at 30.9 per cent in November 2018.
Danbatta who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Sunday Dare, said Nigeria would achieve close to 50 per cent broadband penetration by 2019.
According to him, contributions of Telecommunications and Information Services to GDP from Q1 to Q3 2018 were N4.7 trillion, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
In the last quarter (Q3, 2018), the amount stood at N1.5 trillion, according to Q3 figures reported by the NBS.
Danbatta said that Telecommunications and Information Services Sector grew by 14.7 per cent from Q1, 2017 to Q3, 2018.
The NCC has also promised to reduce call masking across the nation by 80 per cent before 2020, noting that about N6 billion is lost yearly to call masking
The executive vice chairman disclosed that tracking technology has made the commission to reduce call masking by 21per cent as at August 2018, even as nine offenders have been arrested.
He said the commission had in the last six months, took proactive measures through investigation and efforts to reduce incidents of SIM boxing in the country by 32 per cent.
According to Dambatta, call masking/refilling occurs when an international call is terminated in Nigeria as a local number.
He stressed that perpetrators have ulterior motive of profiting from price differentials between international and local calls termination rates.
He added that a SIM box has the capacity to receive and transmit calls undetected.
The Guardian can report that some challenges confronting broadband deployment in the country include high Right of way challenges, where states governments charge as much as N12, 000 per meter for RoW as against Federal Government's N145 per meter.
Others are fibre cuts, vandalism, over regulations and multiple taxes.