NIGERIAN Communications Commission (NCC) has started probing data depletion in the telecoms industry in line with its mandate of consumer protection. Its Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Prof Garba Dambatta, who spoke on the sidelines of the presentation of the ZIK Prize for Leadership Award to him, said the reduction in the cost of data might not provide the lasting solution to the issue of data deletion, promising that the Commission would explore new measures that would address the issue. “NCC has instituted a forensic audit on the cost of data, just like we did with the cost of Short Message Service (SMS) on a particular mobile operator, where we discovered that the operator unlawfully surcharged its subscribers to the tune of over N100 million and we have asked the particular operator to make refunds immediately and the operator has commenced refund to the affected subscribers. This could have gone unnoticed, if not for the quick intervention of NCC. We have plans to even extend the forensic audit on SMS to other telecoms operators.
“So, as we did for SMS, we are doing same for data to find out the reason for fast data depletion and it will be carried out across all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). By the time the audit is completed and the result is out, perhaps we will have better information of what is happening in the data segment, as it relates to fast data depletion,” Dambatta said.
He said the Commission did it’s benchmarking recently and discovered that the cost of 1 Gigabyte of data had come down below N500, which represents a 50 percent reduction from what it used to be.
He said there was, however, a target to reduce data cost to N390 per Gigabyte by the year 2025, adding that the Commission is almost there.
The target, as enshrined in the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025), is to achieve N390/Gigabyte in the cost of data by the end of 2025, but the recent benchmarking that the NCC did, showed that the cost of data has reduced to more than 50 percent from what it used to be at the beginning of 2020. For us as the industry regulators, this is a good sign that data cost is coming down and that the issue of data deletion as experienced by subscribers, is gradually been addressed.
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