IT News Nigeria:
Further to the ongoing review of the telecoms industry performance in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, IT News Nigeria observed record broadband penetration in 2019, thanks to robust industry oversight by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) under the direction of Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta. The Commission also championed responsive consumer complaints resolution management in the year under review.
Broadband penetration increased from 32.34 percent (indicating 61,732,130 Nigerians on 3G and 4G networks) to 37.87% (indicating 72,289,389 on 3G and 4G networks) between January and October, 2019. Various efforts of the Commission in licensing new spectrum bands, re-farming certain frequency bands and driving initiatives for increased broadband infrastructure in the country have also been responsible for these feats.
With increase in broadband penetration being recorded on a monthly basis, stakeholders have said that the NCC is well positioned and must be supported by the government through relevant policies to drive the actualisation of the country’s digital economy policy strategy, going forward. This has become necessary since, as usual, the Commission is expected to take the driver’s seat in the actualisation of the new broadband target being worked on by the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy. Just recently, the new National Broadband Plan Committee was inaugurated to come up with the new broadband target for 2020-2025.
With regards to the uptake of Mobile Number Portability (MNP), 110, 500 numbers were ported between January, 2019 and October, 2019, as against 71, 723 subscribers who ported their lines between the same 10-month period in 2018. This increase in porting activities in 2019 is attributable to increased public education and awareness by the Commission’s head office and its zonal offices, as they intensified awareness on the availability and usage of MNP across geo-political zones.
Also, in terms of consumer complaints management, the Commission received a total of 19,841 complaints from telecoms consumers across its various consumer complaints channels. Of these, the NCC successfully resolved 17,851, representing a 90 percent success rate of consumer complaints resolution during the period under review. Specifically, a total of 18, 717 complaints were lodged through the NCC Contact Centre by the customers to the Commission with a larger percentage satisfactorily solved. Little wonder, therefore, that based on their satisfaction with all these facilities provided for them to resolve their issues, a total of 19,345 satisfied consumers sent notes of commendation/appreciation to the Commission through calls made to the NCC Contact Centre and e-mails received via the NCC Consumer Portal. All of these were to appreciate the various regulatory interventions that helped in satisfactorily resolving their telecoms service-related issues.
Also in 2019, exposure to unsolicited text messages by the consumers declined drastically through the popularisation by the Commission and the resultant activation of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Short Code 2442 facility by the subscribers. Though, a voluntary service, a total of 22,356, 919 subscribers have now activated the DND service either fully or partially.
Aside all these impressive statistics, the Commission, in 2019, focused more on some key initiatives that have put the industry and the economy on a growth trajectory.
In 2019, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in its proactive regulatory approach, pioneered the trial of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria, becoming the first telecoms regulator in the West Africa to begin such historic trial towards unleashing greater digital revolution in the country. Consequently, 5G trials have been conducted in Abuja, Calabar and Lagos and the coming years can only be more exciting for Nigerians, who will, through 5G network deployment, have access to faster broadband speed to carry out personal and official activities. This will bring about more efficiency, effectiveness and growth.