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Thursday, February 02, 2006

ULR to engender consumer-centric choices - Ndukwe

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has reiterated that the proposed introduction of the Unified Licensing Regime (ULR) would engender consumer-centric kind of services with multiple choices for the end-users.

He gave this indication at the 26th edition of the monthly Consumers’ Telecom Parliament held in the city of Oyo, capital of Ibadan, last weekend.

It would be recalled that ULR is due to take off soon at the end of exclusivity period granted the digital mobile operators otherwise known as Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) operators, due to expire in February 2005.

Held at Jogor Centre in Ibadan penultimate Friday, and attended by the likes of MTN, Vmobile, Glo mobile, MTel, NITEL and Oduatel, the event had a good consumer turnout.

He said, this would give telecom consumers in the country more choices as well as increase the vibrancy of the telecom sector.

Dr. Ndukwe also noted it would attract bigger players to the sector, improve quality of service and bring about customer friendly pricing.

He disclosed that the number of connected phone lines in the country have grown by 100 per cent last year from nearly 10 million at the end of 2004 to almost 20 million at the end of 2005.

And in order to sustain this growth, Dr. Ndukwe advised state governments, local governments, towns and communities to welcome operating companies by providing right of way to them for infrastructure build-out and restraining indigenes from vandalizing telecom equipment and engaging in unnecessary hostilities towards operators’ personnel and contractors.

He equally revealed that this year, the Commission would ensure that Internet services are pervasively extended to all states of the federation to empower Nigerians to fully tap the benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

On inefficacy of emergency numbers on the networks, the EVC noted that a broad-based national committee comprising of security agencies, the Ministry of Communications, the Fire Service and the Commission are currently working out the details and mechanism for deploying a state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure to take care of the problem.

He further prayed consumers to take their grievances to the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), in the case they are not satisfied with the responses of their service providers to complaints, pointing out that the bureau has resolved a good number of the complaints brought before it and on time too.

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