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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

NCC plans to reduce SMS tariffs

Telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advanced plans to reduce the cost of sending Short Messaging Service (SMS) in the country.

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe made this known at the 47th Consumer Parliament which held at Awka, Anambra State, at the weekend.

He said plans have been concluded to force down the current tariffs being charged by phone operators for Short Messaging Services (SMS), in the country, so as to assist more people to communicate more easily and cheaply.

SMS, which is still up to N15 in some networks, Dr. Ndukwe said the commission is looking into the matter and expects the operators to reduce the tariffs soon or the commission will take its action.

“SMS is one of the cheapest things to offer in the network in terms of services, and many young people use this service,” he noted, stressing that it is cheaper and easier and when more people use it.

He pointed out that SMS would also free the networks of congestion.

“If the operators do not react, we will react. We will probably put a sealing on this service”, Ndukwe said.

In addition, he said, that the issue of phone thefts in the country has been of major concern to the regulator, and anti-theft system was been developed with collaboration of the mobile phone operators.

“And that a company has been licensed to manage the system,” he said, adding the system will require that all the mobile operators, including Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks, to link their data to the system such that once theft of any phone handset is reported, it will never work in any other network in Nigeria.

Ndukwe further observed that checks by the Commission in Awka and the surrounding areas showed that all the operators have failed terms of customer care for its subscribers.

He warned operators to leave up to their responsibilities by ensuring customer satisfaction with the provision of customer care facilities for quick resolution of complaints.

Dr. Ndukwe explained to the phone consumers that the essence of the parliament is to feel their pulse and to assess the facilities which the operators have put together to offer quality services to the people.

According to him, some of the qualities of service challenges in the sector are traceable to the operators while some are beyond the operators but that the commission recently imposed some compensation on the operators to mitigate these challenges.

“This is the first time that any group of customers have been so compensated in any part of Africa and we have not seen it in any part of the world. So, we are proud to achieve that for the consumers in this country,” he said.


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