Nigerian regulators are investigating telcos to protect consumers’ Rights

In the wake of telecommunications giant, MTN’s woes in Nigeria, the country’s regulatory bodies look to protect the rights of telecommunications consumers and ensure that consumers are getting the quality services they are paying for.

Regulatory bodies, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) launched a joint regulatory investigation in the telecommunications sector. This comes barely a month after the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered MTN to refund a total of $8.134 billion which it took out of the country illegally.

The inquiry aims to promote regulatory collaboration, protection, ensure regulatory clarity and eliminate possible multiple regulatory approaches. In addition, transparency in billing, data rollover, full disclosures about real consumption, deductions for value-added services and other key telecommunications services are to be uncovered in the inquiry.

The agencies noted that this joint partnership became expedient in ensuring the rights of consumers in the telecommunication industry were respected and protected, following continuing dissatisfaction and complaints by consumers. In the first quarter of 2018, Telecoms subscribers in the country registered over 13,880 abuses against the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

Report by the Nigerian Telecoms Consumer Complaints showed that the number of complaints against MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile was 13, 880 in Q1, 2018. Further analysis of the statistics showed that MTN got the highest complaints of 6,120 (44 per cent) against it. The report also revealed that about 150 million active subscribers complained bitterly of over billing as issues relating to billing accounted for 7, 046 (51 per cent).

According to the Director General of CPC, Babatunde Irukera, “in the spirit of the mutual objective, the two agencies see the joint regulatory inquiry into consumer issues in the telecom industry as the right thing to do.” In addition NCC executive chairman, Umar Danbatta said the scope of the investigation would include service quality, call masking, unsolicited subscriptions and difficulty encountered when attempting to unsubscribe to billed value-added services.

To ensure effective regulation and consumer rights protection, the agencies hope the cooperation of consumers, operators and other stakeholders would provide relevant information to the subjects of the inquiry.