President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers, Mr Adeolu Ogunbanjo, says the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is not doing enough to check the spate of drop calls in Nigeria.
Speaking Ogunbanjo, disclosed this in an exclusive telephone chat with our correspondent on Sunday, said it was worrying that the spate of drop calls has become a recurring decimal which must be addressed by the regulatory body. He, however, commended Senator Remi Tinubu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, for bringing the issue to the front burner recently during a public hearing to investigate telecom network operators in the country.
The NATCOMS helmsman also urged the NCC to ensure customers get back what they lost to drop calls. Admitting that the process of getting a subscriber reimbursed after losing to drop calls is cumbersome, he says it is very difficult to prove that telcos have robbed subscribers as complaints must go with the evidence, adding that the process of getting compensation and the little amount involved individually- which runs into billions of naira from millions of subscribers- could make affected subscribers refuse to pursue their case.
In defence of the NCC, the spokesperson of the Commission, Dr Henry Nkemadu refuted the claim about the high incidence of drop calls. Nkemadu adds that the NCC has always been putting measures in place to assist telcos in delivering excellent services to their customers. According to Nkemadu, the NCC had intervened on behalf of telcos to ensure that governors improve Right of Way (RoW) charges to improve their services.
He added that where there was the restriction of movement, the NCC reached out to the Customs to allow operators to have access to base stations.
The NCC spokesman said the steps highlighted above and other measures were geared towards ensuring that telcos improve their services to their customers, noting the NCC would continue to protect the interest of subscribers.
At the public hearing highlighted above, Senate President Ahmed Lawan had lamented how consumers were shortchanged, describing the development as unacceptable.
“The drop calls shortchange consumers. To me, it’s a very serious issue and we have been with it since as far as I can remember. We have been shortchanged for a long time. We consider this development unacceptable.
“We mandated our committees to thoroughly investigate the issue of drop calls. This is in the interest of the people we represent. And even the people who only come to Nigeria either for tourism or business or whatever.
“What happens in Nigeria, especially as far as the attitude and behaviour of the service providers hardly happens anywhere in the world.
“What MTN does in Nigeria, MTN doesn’t do that in South Africa. All other service providers are also culpable. We have witnessed it for years. Maybe the time has come for us to reject it. Going forward, it’s not only making it better but what happened to all the money that we paid for no service rendered.
“I think the committee should insist on what happens to all the money people in this country paid for no service. Other countries give money back. But here you denied us and you don’t give one Kobo.
“So this public hearing is not going to be like the other previous ones. Everybody complains of drop calls except the operators because that is a booming business for them.
“And the kind of market that we have in Nigeria is such that you don’t have this market anywhere in the world. When a Nigerian will have three lines, yet we don’t get the service that we paid for.”
The President of the Senate also charged the NCC to wake up to its regulatory responsibility. “NCC will have to sit up because NCC, sometimes, is either inept or it is simply flowing with the service providers,” he said.