By Omobayo Azeez
No fewer than 26,169 aggrieved telecoms customers with unresolved grievances have in the past 15 months dragged service operators to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for ultimate justice.
This happened between January 2019 and April 2020, the commission revealed in a report.
Out of this number, the NCC said it has successfully resolved to the satisfaction of the subscribers 25,575, representing 98 per cent of the total complaints received.
The commission also reiterated its commitment to ensuring improvement in the Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) for the nation’s over 190 million telecom subscribers, even as the global community grapples with the challenges of containing the spread and management of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many of the satisfied consumers reverted to either acknowledge the prompt resolution of their complaints or to thank the Commission for its intervention in service-related issues between them and their respective service providers,” it said in the report signed by Ikechukwu Adinde, it director of public affairs.
It was also learnt that the complaints were received through all the commission’s official channels of communication which include 24,481 complaints received through commission’s contact centres; 1,007 complaints received through the consumer portal; and 296 others received as written complaints submitted at NCC Head Office in Abuja and at the commission’s five zonal offices in Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kano and Ibadan.
“Complaints also reached the commission through its official email (firstname.lastname@example.org) while 366 of the complaints were transmitted to the commission through its social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the specially-dedicated Twitter handle for consumer issues (@ConsumersNCC).
Also, 19 complaints were also referred to the commission during the period through the Twitter account of Isa Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy.
According to Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman (EVC) of NCC, “the commission is pleased to find that consumers are increasingly accessing the numerous complaint channels instituted by the commission to resolve second level complaints brought to its attention.”
He said the NCC has emplaced all the channels to enable consumers to escalate to the commission complaints earlier reported to their service providers that may not have been addressed promptly and/or satisfactorily.
“It is important to note that commission’s actions in this regard is in congruence with NCC’s mandate to protect and defend the rights of the consumer, and to give concrete expression to its faith in the consumer as the lifeblood of the telecom sector, and therefore deserving of priority attention as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003,” Danbatta said.
He emphasised the commission’s commitment to taking several steps, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to continuously improve QoS both for voice and data services.
According to him, such responsibility has become more imperative, in view of the outbreak of COVID-19 and the attendant necessities for containing the contagion, giving that telecom consumers, in their majority, have come to rely more on telecom services in order to cope with the restrictions to physical movement and close contacts.
Danbatta assured consumers of NCC’s readiness to sustain existing measures put in place to sustain improvement in QoS, in order to reduce incidents of complaints and to ensure the overall protection of the rights of the telecom consumer.
“Such measures include monthly engagement sessions with operators on QoS; quarterly QoS Industry Working Group (IWG) meetings on QoS; continuous engagement with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Right of Way (RoW) issue; regular publication of QoS performance data on the Commission’s website; instituting benchmarking drive test across the country to measure performance of each operator; establishing new QoS measurement mechanisms for assessing operators’ performance across all states of the Federation, among others,” Danbatta emphasised.
The EVC further assured telecom consumers of its readiness to address every challenge stifling robust delivery of telecom services.
“Telecoms consumers should continue to report challenges about quality of service, first with their service providers, and if not satisfied with the handling of the complaints by service providers, the consumer may then escalate the matter to the Commission through various channels provided as mentioned above,” he urged.