The Mobile Telecommunication Industry has celebrated this year's World Consumer Right Day (WCRD), with a call for government and teleco operating in Ghana to make local roaming telecommunication possible, with the fiber cut legislation policy direction in place.
The celebration organized under the theme "Trusted Smart Products", aimed at educating traders, commuters and the general public in the safe use of mobile technologies applications and services provided by mobile network operators.
It provided an opportunity for the mobile network operators to highlight issues on mobile and digital security and also educate the public to avoid the purchase of use of fake phones as well as pre-registered Subscriber Identifications Module (SIM) cards and to report wayward merchants and persons who trade in such products to the law enforcement authorities. Currently there are over 41million connected SIM cards in Ghana.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Mr. Kenneth Ashigbey, in his remarks, underscored the symbiotic relationship between the consumers and the mobile operators and reiterated the relentless commitment of the industry to provide world-class telecommunications with consumers at the core of their operations.
"Consumers have rights and equally have responsibilities and we will work with our customers to ensure they do not compromise on their security and data privacy as they gain access to new services, more responsive products, greater convenience and choice," Mr. Ashirgbey said.
We therefore caution all Ghanaians to be vigilant and desist from disclosing their mobile money PINs and avoid discussing their wallet or financial details with anybody over a telephone call. We should be quick to report fraudulent numbers to the toll free short code 419 for immediate resolution," Mr. Ashigbey cautioned.
Fiber cuts, which are often caused by road contractors, civil contractors, household building their own infrastructure on places where fiber cut already exist.
This practices put huge financial burdens on the telecommunications companies and deny consumers of quality communication and internet services.
Addressing the issue on fibre cut, the member of Parliamentary Select Committee on Communication Honourable Sam George, called for the development of a legislation which will criminalize fibre cuts that deny consumers of data and internet services offered by the telecommunication companies in the country.
He called on government and the telecommunication industry to work together to make local roaming telecommunication services in Ghana possible.
Honourable Sam George, lauded the Chamber for organizing the event to sensitize consumers on their rights and also the opportunity to interact with the mobile network operators and seek solutions to challenges facing them in the use of mobile services.
Importance of Fibre Optic Network
Fibre Optic Networks within communities are very helpful, which are critical to the delivery of quality telecommunications services.
Private developers, Road contractors and utility companies were implored as partners to work with the mobile industry in safeguarding this critical infrastructure from cuts to guarantee quality services for all.
Counterfeit or Fake Phones
Touching on the issue of fake phones was Mr. David Amoah, Head of Regulatory and Compliance, Vodafone Ghana.
"Counterfeit mobile devices infringe the trademark or design of authentic "branded" products. Almost one in five mobile devices may be counterfeit or fake. This has negative effects for consumers who risk lower quality, safety, security, environmental health and privacy assurances".
"When customers acquire fake gadgets and products, they compromise their safety. Data and privacy are also weakened and most importantly too, they get bad services on the network. Customers end up spending more money in the long term on phone accessories; much to their detriment.
Collaborate with Government and other bodies
The telecom industry is willing to work with government, the National Communication Authority and the Association of Mobile Phone Dealers to consider meaningful ways to address this menace whilst studying the gap between the cost of fake/smuggled devices and legitimate devices.
This when done would ultimately make the black market less lucrative whilst protecting our consumers in the long term.
Assurance to consumers
The telecom industry is very committed to consumers every step of the way, the industry will not renege on the quest to create an enabling environment for them to enjoy the good benefits of using quality and affordable devices on 4G-enabled network such as MTN, Vodafone Ghana and Airtel Tigo.
Right of consumer
"The right of the consumer should be of alter most important to the government, who holds the collective trust in its people."
The Ghanaian consumer is being exploited without recourse to proper revise in compensation plans, there is no warranty on 90% on smart products in the Ghanaian market." Mr. Benjamin Akoto, Head of Compliance from the Consumer Protection Agency added.
He use the platform to touch on four basic consumer right, the right to safety , the right to be informed, the right to choose and the right to be heard. He encouraged all consumer to know these right and work with them accordingly.
About World Consumer Right Day (WCRD)
World Consumer Right Day (WCRD), is an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement, celebrated on 15th March. It marks the date in 1962 President John F. Kennedy first outlined the definition of Consumer Rights.
WCRD, is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.
WCRD was first observed on 15th March 1983, and has since become an important occasion for mobilizing citizen action.