The Nigerian Communications Commission has defended the allegations that it treats telecom operators with kid gloves in regards to their poor quality of service, the commission has advised its critics to study the Act of law that guides the commission’s activities.
Director, Public Affairs of the commission, Mr Tony Ojobo, as guest of some radio programs in the South – South and South East geopolitical zones of the country, recently, explained that there are limitations to the actions the commission could take against operators, based on the law that established it.
According to Ojobo, apart from its core functions of ensuring robust regulation of telecommunication service providers who are encouraged to treat the subscriber as king, the NCC is often seen by some critics as a law enforcement agency that should perhaps arrest and prosecute erring operators.
He said the critics, for selfish reasons, even bandy unfounded statistics just to lower the high standards and template the commission has set in African, if not the world telecommunications regulation methods.
“But this should not be so. The NCC as a regulator of choice in Africa carries on its mandate according to the NCC Act of 2003 with several regulatory templates and guidelines. That is why we have embarked on the current phone-in-live program on radio stations across the country to explain to everybody in an interactive format what our activities and our limits are.”
What does the NCC do?
“The Nigerian Communication Commission is the agency of Government that is responsible for regulating the Telecommunication Industry and our role includes licensing of all Telecommunication Operators, including vendors of telecommunication equipment, it also includes Type Approval of telecommunication equipment and devices including cellphones. The NCC Type-Approves all of these kinds of equipment. The Commission’s functions also include Consumer Education, Consumer information and Consumer Protection, setting up of standards for operators in the industry. It includes monitoring the compliance of operators and service providers to the terms, the conditions and obligations that we have in their licenses.
It also includes creating access and ensuring that there is access to telecommunication and that there is competition in the industry in such a way that the Nigerian Consumer has value for money for services that are provided for them . In a nutshell I will say these are the functions of the Commission”
“We are absolutely proud of what we have done so far. As at January 2001, Nigeria had a population of 90 million to 100 million and all we could boast of were 400, 000 active lines throughout the federation, now as at May this year, 2015, there were about 146.5 million active subscribers on the networks and you know this is an industry that operates on a 24/7 hour basis. It’s only in telecoms that someone wakes up at 2am and at 4am and there is an emergency, he picks up his phone and makes his calls. A few years ago, it was not easy; now, that is common practice.
In those days people in Lagos wanting to send a message to the village, will have to do a letter get someone that knows someone travelling to the village before the information in the letter will get home. But now, wherever you are, there is access for Nigerians to communicate.

Data statistics
Ojobo said that besides the leverage one can get with voice calls, the growth statistics in data services is another area critics fail to properly analyse else they would be better educated on issues of their criticisms. “Äs at today, we have about 89 million active subscribers on the internet in Nigeria which is one of the highest in the world, in terms of internet usage. I think that is phenomenal and has changed the way businesses are done in Nigeria. For instance, from the comforts one’s bedroom, banking transactions are now done.
Again, that we are a cashless society today, is because of telecommunication. Recently I needed to check into a hotel and my debit card was unavailable, immediately I sent a mail to the bank, in less than a minute, my account officer acknowledged receipt of the mail on phone and immediately sorted my problem out. The money was paid into the hotel account; that wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. These things are practical and are changing the way that we live our lives”.

Cost of telephony generally
“Well you know there are some things you get from armchair statisticians who just bandy the figures without doing any empirical studies of the price index for telecommunications in Africa.
Nigeria neither has the highest nor the lowest cost of telephony in Africa or the world; we are somewhere in the middle, but I will just give you a picture of what has happened. As at 2001 when the mobile operators were licensed, people were paying fifty naira a minute as at that time, today you have as low as 11 kobo per second, in a minute, that gives you six naira 60 kobo per minute. So when you speak for like 10 minutes, it is N66.00 only, so that gives you an indication of what has happened in terms of price reduction in the industry.
“We have actually done a study and soon we are going to come out with the publication, looking at the pricing of the Telecommunication services in Africa, especially in West Africa region.
Why treat operators with kid gloves
“It’s actually laughable really, when people make such insinuations. As a regulator, we try to maintain a very delicate balance. For instance, could you just imagine what will happen, if we revoke the license of any of these networks, some have up to 63 million subscribers, and they shut down operations? It means that 63 million subscribers would actually be shut out of communications within that space of time.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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