Benjamin Babine, Abuja

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has 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.

Danbatta, speaking at the Virtual Telecom Consumer Parliament (V-TCP), said despite the fact that telecom operators have reported demand spike of up to 800 per cent in data usage and volume of calls since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Commission has made to work with operators in sustaining the quality of service delivery and quality of experience by the consumers.

He said the Commission and 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.

The EVC further said the commission approved and encouraged resource sharing among network operators and secured Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecommunications companies and suppliers for easy movement during the lockdown. These measures he said enabled the operators to service their base stations and ensured seamless services for telecom consumers who increasingly relied on the networks during the pandemic.

Danbatta went on to charge service providers to constantly upgrade and expand their network capacity in order to deliver top-notch QoS to their consumers.

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‘The Commission is hopeful that with the reduction in RoW, which will automatically result in a reduction in capital expenditure (CAPEX) by the network operators, telecom companies will sooner than later reciprocate the gesture by making their services more affordable to Nigerians,’ he said.

Earlier in a presentation, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), Barr Adeleke Adewolu, showed the various Quality of Service (QoS) indicators for the second quarter of the year across the networks and how the consumer Quality of Experience compared with the parameters based on the voice of the consumer survey (VoxPop) conducted by the Commission.

Speaking further, the ECSM highlighted the challenges facing operators, which impact negatively on the quality of service to include fibre cuts, vandalism and theft of telecommunications site equipment.

A panel session of telecoms operators participating virtually in the TCP was held and moderated by the Director, Consumer Affairs, NCC, Mr Efosa Idehen.

The panel session addressed issues of network capacity upgrade, change in consumer data consumption behaviour, implementation of agreed Consumer Complaints and Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA), 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.

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.