NCC: An Overzealous, Not Toothless, Bulldog By Akinpelumi Oladayo

On May the 19th 2017, SaharaReporters published an article “NCC in Toothless Dog Bark at Telecom Firms” with an opinion that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has not acted on the violation of consumer rights by the telecom operators.

I think the opinion that the Nigerian Communications Commission hasn’t acted on this is wrong!

The Do Not Disturb (DND) directive has been fully implemented by the Value Added Service (VAS) providers and telecom operators. This implementation has resulted in a large slash of the Value Added Service (VAS) and Content Providers (CP) revenue by almost half.

How? In some cases, operators have forced Value Added Service providers to unsubscribe customers with multiple services on a single MSISDN (phone line), and to restart subscriber base for the service from bottom-up.

Between November 2016 till date, customer complaints have been low with the enforcement of the Do Not Disturb policy by the operators and strict directives to Value Added Service operators to blacklist any MSISDN (phone line) opted into the Do Not Disturb list, with a N5,000,000 violation charge on every MSISDN (phone line) which has opted into the Do Not Disturb ( weather partial DND or full DND) and still receives any unsolicited message.

To further clarify, operators are currently implementing an automated Do Not Disturb network scrubber which filters all SMS communication from the network’s end. This means that Do Not Disturb listing of all customers is updated in real-time, hence a near-zero probability for the subscriber to get an unsolicited message once opted into Do Not Disturb (DND).

Should I state that promotions and lotteries have not been banned by the Nigerian Communications Commission, rather they have set in place a strict guideline to be adhered to by both Value Added Services providers and telecom operators before running any promotional campaign?

In recent times, operators have ensured all approvals are in place from all regulatory bodies before any campaign or promotion is held across any platform.

A typical request for promotion/Campaign request from a Value Added Service provider will involve the approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the Consumer Protection Council and the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission in the case of any.

In my opinion, it should be said that the Nigerian Communications Commission is overzealous about the Do Not Disturb policy and it might actually be killing the innovation of the Value Added Service industry. The loss of revenue might just be leading to a downsizing of the industry and hence an increase in unemployment across the country, as has been witnessed with some operators in the past weeks.

Akinpelumi Oladayo is the head of Business Development at Bilyak Consulting Limited.


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