(By Chioma Peters)-The Nigerian Communications Commission, government agency responsible for the regulation of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria has warned mobile network operators to stop automatic or unwarranted renewal of data packages without the consent of the subscribers or be sanctioned according to the law.
The warning was given by Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC on Thursday, 30 May, at the Commission’s Consumer Conversation, which took place in Karu, Nasarawa State, adding that breach of the rules attracts fine of N5million.
Prof. Danbatta, who was represented by the Director of Northern operations, Mrs. Helen Obi, explained that the reaction was in response to widespread complaints from subscribers over what he described as unacceptable level of breaches of the rules, including the imposition of any value added services on the subscriber without permission.
‘‘The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, on the 21 May, 2018 issued a directive to all network providers to desist from carrying out automatic or unwarranted renewal of data packages without their consent. We have also directed that no mobile service providers should impose their services to consumers. It is expected that they should obtain their consent.
‘‘There should be a written text by the network provider to the consumer requesting to know whether the consumer is interested in renewing the package, after that, the network provider must also repeat the process to ensure that the consumer understood the terms and conditions of the service and has given consent before automatic renewal.
‘‘The penalty for the violation will attract a N5 million for any service provider who defaults. And for everyday that the commission issues the sanction and the fine was not paid by the service provider, it will attract and additional 500, 000 (five hundred thousand.)’’, he asserted, while the largely unprotected consumers in Nigeria, according to our findings are not celebrating until the NCC is seen to be matching its words with action.
Meanwhile, subscribers who spoke with Notable Outcome in Port Harcourt criticized the NCC for not doing enough to protect subscribers from the excesses mobile network operators. They regretted that the operators have been having a field day, exploiting the helpless subscribers in Nigeria’s telecommunications market, which is seen by many subscribers as largely unregulated.
They challenged the management of the Commission to match their words with action by checking the widespread irregularities in the sector in line with global best practices.