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Minister charges NCC to invoke extant laws against Telcos

By Emmanuel Elebeke

ABUJA: The Minister of  Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu has called on the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC to investigate all drop calls and call masking by telecom operators and invoke appropriate provisions of the law and other extant agreements to protect consumers.

The minister said the Commission must ensure that customers are refunded henceforth for disrupted calls caused by network issues and allow them have more control over their usage of data bundle as practised by telecom operators in countries like Kenya, South Africa. It also ordered the NCC to stop call masking and investigate how it originates.

NCC

The Minister gave the charge in his Office yesterday during a meeting with the telecommunications operators over an increased rate of dropped calls and other unwholesome practices.

“The charge came as a result of correspondence he received from Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and the Clerk to the National Assembly on the Senate resolutions on the issues of increased rate of dropped calls and other unwholesome practices such as call masking by telecommunication network providers in Nigeria. “NCC, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other regulatory agencies should carry out effective supervision of the telecom service providers to ensure regulatory excellence, operational efficiency and sterling service delivery and also to investigate the causes of the dropped calls, call masking and to ensure that all international calls are terminated in Nigeria with the phone number of actual caller.

The Network Service Providers in their response outlined some of the causes of the dropped calls as lack of In-building Solutions, IBS for accessibility of calls.

They cited the Federal Secretariat Complex as one of such buildings with no in-building solutions that would make calls to be difficult.

Others are high rising buildings that overshadow other buildings  also affects calls, fibre optic links tampering, separation of domestic rates from international calls amongst others.

They however, promised to work amicably with the relevant authorities as directed by the Minister.


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