| By Sunday Dare |
LET me with pleasure once again welcome you all to the Lagos flag off of the NCC 2017 Year of the Telecom Consumer programme. Two months ago, precisely on March 15, in Abuja, we kicked off the national campaign on YEAR OF THE NIGERIAN TELECOM CONSUMER at the NCC Headquarters in Abuja. It was for us at NCC a day of great significance, just as today is also.
Why? You may want to ask? It was significant because it was the first time the NCC will single out the consumer and dedicate a year of activities towards safeguarding the rights, protecting the interests, and empowering the consumer to make informed decisions – but above all, to place the consumer atop the stakeholder ladder of the NCC. The consumer is one of the key stakeholders in the stakeholder ladder of the NCC. With a base of over 154 million subscribers, the Nigerian consumers dominate the African telecommunications landscape.
This initiative is derivative of the 8-Point Agenda of the present NCC Management leveraging on the two key components of Improving Quality of Service (QoS); and Informing and Empowering Consumers. The Telecom consumer embraces for us at NCC the various stakeholders we are mandated by the NCA 2003 to protect, inform and educate. Beyond the individual consumer who uses multiple operators and hence lines, we have in the stakeholder matrix other consumers such as the State governments, the national Assembly, MDAs, etc. NCC seeks an inclusive approach as stipulated in its Corporate Code of Governance for the Telecommunication Industry. It states inter alia this inclusive approach recognizes that the licensee’s long term interests are best served by an appropriate consideration of the legitimate expectations and interests of key stakeholders. This is why this journey during which NCC will strive to ensure customer satisfaction attains a level never witnessed before is of importance. Our goal is to make the consumer experience of the average Nigerian better.
The drivers of the NCC 2017 Year of the Nigerian Telecom Consumer are the 2442 Do-Not-Disturb Service Code, the 622 toll free complaints line, Quality of Service, QoS and concerns about the Electromagnetic Field, EMF radiation. These are the areas the information provided in the course of the campaign would focus on.
For the Nigerian telecom consumer and indeed the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), things have come almost full circle. They know each other and need each other. The NCC as a regular stands like an impartial umpire, a referee engaging and monitoring to ensure the interests of all parties are respected. From a customer base of slightly over four hundred thousand in the height of NITEL’s glory, we now have a combined subscriber base of over 150 million across the country. This boom and massive jump in mobile telephony have brought with it several challenges especially in terms of reliable service, network upgrade, expansion and maintenance, and increasing demand for CAPEX injection into the telecom industry.
In the midst of these, the average consumer runs the risk of just becoming a number. This danger therefore means that the customer suffers of times in silence in the hands of the operators primarily in the areas of dropped calls, failed calls often called Call Set Up Success Rate (CSSR) among others.
This is exactly why this year is dedicated to the consumer. The NCC is charged with ensuring that the average consumer gets the best satisfaction possible from the use of the line he has acquired. Thus, mindful of the pains and challenges of a growing economy and a rapidly developing industry, NCC intends to strike a balance. A balance albeit in favour of the consumer who of times is at the receiving end.
In my welcome address in March, I affirmed that the campaign runs through the year 2017 and beyond. On a continuous basis, NCC will seek to engage and explore ways to make consumer experience more satisfying within the Nigerian telecoms industry. We want both the inbound and outbound call experience to get to a higher standard such that wherever you are calling from, be it from Kano to Kotongora, from Ado-Ekiti to Abuja, from Lagos to Lokoja, from Dutse to Damaturu, Enugu to Yenagoa, and from London to Lagos – NCC wants the consumer to experience good quality of service.
Already, NCC has deployed several activities in its strategic plan to run a successful year of the consumer campaign with the support of the operators. Across the country the grassroots oriented NCC Consumer Conversations now take place in six locations simultaneously across the country once every month. Road shows, Radio jingles, town hall meetings and a medley of consumer outreach programmes are ongoing. Continuous monitoring of Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, and benchmark is ongoing too on a quarterly basis to ensure that the quality of service does not deteriorate.
By the same token, the NCC will continue to engage the MNOs and other critical stakeholders in a constructive way to ensure that quality of service across board is achieved and the levels of awareness and activation of the 2442 Do-Not-Disturb facility; the 622 toll free line awareness; and educating the consumer about the environmental and health impact of telecoms infrastructure and type of phones approved for use, take centre stage.
Let me close the same way I closed my remarks in Abuja two months ago.
At this juncture, my job here is done. Mine is to welcome you to an exciting possibility of consumer satisfaction and better and consistent quality of service, to ask you to JOURNEY with NCC, to ADVOCATE with NCC, to PARTNER with NCC and to make customer experience and our telecom industry better.
I am sure my Executive Vice Chairman, Professor UG. Danbatta, will provide more details and justification for this initiative. He will make a more powerful pitch than I have tried to do today.
I thank you all for coming and welcome YOU as partners in this noble task of protecting the Nigerian Telecom Consumer.
Being the address of welcome by Sunday Dare, NCC’s Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) at the Lagos, flag off of the 2017 Year of Nigerian Telecom Consumer on Wednesday May 17, 2017
— May 17, 2017 @ 16:35 GMT