Prof. Umar GarbaDanbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has listed critical regulatory actions that the Commission took to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on quality of service (QoS) delivery by telecommunication networks to their consumers.
Prof. Danbattalisted the measures while speaking at the first edition of the NCC Virtual Telecom Consumer Parliament (V-TCP) on August 21, 2020with the theme: “Impact of Covid-19 on Telecoms Service Delivery.” 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 Nigeria.
The Virtual Telecom Consumer Parliament also had a panel session of telecoms operators, who participated virtually and was moderated by the NCC Director of Consumer Affairs, Mr. EfosaIdehen.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 Executive Vice Chairman said with the pandemic, some telecom operators and platforms reported demand spike, especially in data usage and volume of calls, which rose as high as 800 per cent since the outbreak of the pandemic. Regardless of this, he said the Commission and the mobile network operators needed to play their roles in sustaining the quality of service delivery and quality of experience by the consumers, who are critical stakeholders in the telecoms sector.
The NCC, in conjunction with 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, he said.
The NCC, he disclosed, 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 all of which 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 further disclosed that the NCC was working with the supervising ministry to resolve the problem of the high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), adding that, through such engagements, the state governors have lent their support for robust broadband infrastructure.
He said:“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.”
Prof. Danbata said regulatory efforts have also resulted in a Presidential approval directing Security Agencies to protect Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and telecom facilities as critical national assets which have helped to safeguard telecom infrastructure for the greater role telecom has to play with the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
The Executive Vice Chairman also strongly charged the service providers to constantly upgrade and expand their network capacity in order to deliver top-notch QoS to their consumers.