The Chairman, Board of Commissioners, of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Adeolu Akande, has disclosed that the Commission embarked on a sensitisation exercise for consumers to proffer recipe to their frequent complaints on the fast depletion of their internet data.
He made this known at the NCC fifth edition of ‘Campus Conversation’ held at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
The Commission, however, sensitised students of the University on how to manage their data usage on mobile telecommunications networks to reduce the high rate of data depletion.
Akande, represented by Mrs Afure Iloka, Special Assistant to the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC said that consumers’ complaints were the reason why NCC, through its Consumers Affairs Bureau (CAB), embarked on a sensitisation exercise.
According to him, this is to educate telecommunications consumers on various ways to manage their internet data.
He said that the campus conversation initiative sought to educate students on the various consumer centric initiatives of NCC toward protecting telecommunications consumers against unfair practices by service providers.
“This initiative is consistent with the mandate of the Commission to Protect, Inform and Educate the Nigerian Telecom Consumers.”
“One of the mandates of the commission is the ‘Protection of the rights and interests of Consumers’. This can only be achieved when consumers are well informed and educated on their rights and obligations as telecom consumers.”
“This conversation is also in tandem with the Strategic Management Plan (SMP 2020-2024) of the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, which is to improve the quality of experience and stakeholders’ satisfaction.”
“The conversation strengthens our focus on the protection of the rights, privileges and interests of telecommunications consumers, including people living with disability and the elderly through information dissemination,” Akande said.
Also, the Head of Consumers Affairs, Mr. Ayanbanji Ojo, said that a consumer would experience high rate of data depletion when such consumer turn on automatic updates of apps, videos and pictures to the cloud on smartphones.
Ojo said that faster download speeds due to 4G coverage and downloading on higher defaults video formats like 5G and 4G compared to 3G and 2G mobile network could also result to high rate of data depletion.
He noted that consumers could manage their data usage by the use of data compression in phone browsers, disable mobile data when internet connection not needed and by reducing video streaming quality from video sites such as YouTube.
In his remarks, the Team Lead, Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sectors (NODITS), Mr. Babagana Digima, said that Nigerian youths remain the greatest assets within the telecom ecosystem in the country.
Digima, an engineer, noted that the involvement of youths in indigenous telecommunications innovation would bring fresh perspectives and new ideas, which would drive meaningful change in the indigenous telecommunications sector.
Responding, the President, Students Union Government (SUG) of the university, Mr. Adewole Adeyinka, lauded the efforts of NCC on data usage sensitisation initiative and other programmes targeted at youth development.
Adeyinka urged NCC management to improve its support programmes for students through provisions of Laptops and other educational materials that would ensure a smooth academic process.
The conversation also featured cyber security and child online protection lectures.
In further ramping up its efforts at educating consumers, NCC also embarked on market sensitisation of men and women on how to better manage their data usage.
During the ‘market conversation’ event held at the popular market in Ibadan, Ayanbanji Ojo, Head of the Consumer Affairs Bureau at the commission, said NCC is working to bring consumer education to rural areas, starting with markets.
He explained that the programme is designed to bring consumer empowerment to rural areas, specifically those who run businesses in markets where people may not have the time or resources to attend events in larger cities which focus on specific topics, with the first topic being how to make good use of data.
Ojo emphasised the importance of protecting telecom infrastructure, as it is necessary for communication and the overall functioning of the industry adding that measures are put in place for consumer protection, including a complaints platform that is toll-free and anonymous.
Speaking to vendors and other attendees at the event, Ojo stressed the importance of protecting telecom infrastructure from vandalism, which can disrupt communication services.
He urged attendees to report any instances of vandalism to the police and also highlighted a toll-free complaints platform that can be used anonymously.
Ojo discussed the issue of lost or stolen mobile phones, acknowledging the challenges that consumers face when trying to retrieve their SIM cards.
He noted that the NCC has a code of practice in place that outlines the responsibilities of mobile network operators, and pledged to investigate any cases of inadequate service reported by consumers.
He said: “The Nigerian police is the overall Security Agency in Nigeria but we have MOU as well with the Civil Defense Corp. If there is any vandal or vandalization you see, please report to the police. Remember, the police know how to protect your interest.”
“No policeman will go outside and say this is the person that came to report. There is room for them to receive the information and there is room for them to protect you.”
“However, if you are scared, we have a platform that is for complaints alone, purely toll-free which is the 622, if you can nod your complaint through that, we will pick it and then we will know how to deal with it and nobody will know your identity.”
“That is the essence of some of these platforms that we have and that’s what we do everywhere in the market.”
He added that the “market conversation” event is just one of many initiatives undertaken by the NCC to improve consumer education and protection and bring education and awareness to rural areas and markets, the commission hoped to reach a wider audience and better equip consumers with the knowledge and tools to manage their telecom services effectively.