The Nigeria Communications Commission, (NCC), has exonerated telecommunications operators of network failures being experienced by bank customers in their transactions saying there is the need for banks to work on their internal configuration to make the cashless policy succeed.
The Commission’s Executive Vice-Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta disclosed this during an interview with the team of Brand Visibility in Abuja, recently said the issues could be the internal configuration of the banks data system but on the whole, the entire financial system runs on telecommunications infrastructure.
“That is why we call telecommunication infrastructure, infrastructure of infrastructures because you cannot do cashless banking when you don’t have a robust telecommunication infrastructure”, he explained.
He said; “I do not think that telecommunication infrastructure is a challenge, at least at the level of transactions that we have. It cannot be attributed to telecommunication because sometimes it is the internal issues of the different organisations. Some banks have these issues because of their own internal structure. That is why they need to build their own infrastructure because the telecom operators only have the infrastructure to support those services.
“But I can tell you that the available infrastructure in Nigeria today in terms of telecommunications is doing a lot in making that happen and why is the reason that last four months, it was easier than this cashless period, is it that the infrastructure has come down low or is it that the facilities are not available? So, we need to separate the issues, there is the need to look at the intra networks of the banking service providers because we have infrastructure almost across all the commercial centres and that is why banks are able to do all their services,” he said.
On the claim that subscribers don’t get value for money, the EVC disagree with this notion with the explanation that there has been tremendous improvement in the telecommunications sector.
“We have come a long way in quality of service improvement and we measure quality of experience not just quality of service because in quality of service, you can give the operators some targets, like they must maintain 95 percent of certain things like in the switch, transmission and the others. But you may not know how it affects the subscriber, so, one way we are doing that, is measuring the quality of experience from the subscriber side and all we see is continuous improvement,” he added.
Prof. Danbatta explained further that the commission is aware that the major problem of service is lack of infrastructure and it is necessary for the service providers to provide enormous infrastructure to make services to be robust and no disruption and all that.
“So, overall we don’t think the major issue now is more of quality of service. The issue that some subscribers raised could be maybe in the charges at which they obtain those services but of course you know we bench mark cost, we have some services, we have different plans and price cap, and there is a band within which they operate.
“You can see that these telecommunications is the only service in Nigeria that does not increase price like any other product including public utilities but we have managed to keep it that way because of our regulatory processes that keep the operators on their toes.
“So, to address the issue people are not getting value for money, we have established a lot of ways to inform, educate the consumer to take their issues head on, we have consumer code of practice regulation where the responsibilities and rights of the average consumer is well established.”
The EVC therefore said for a subscriber not to get value for money, it is either they didn’t do the call and they are charged or they didn’t use data are charged and it is possible to seek redress by calling the operator and the operator if it fails, you can call NCC to assist you through toll free number that works every week day from 8am to 5pm.
“It is a secondary level complaint platform through which consumers can advance their cause especially if they said they are not getting value for money,” he added.
He continued: “We believe that, it is constant improvement in infrastructure deployment that will improve services that is why we are also keeping the operators on their toes to ensure that those services are been improved and from all estimation, they are doing their level best in that direction except for some services that could be disrupted due to destruction of infrastructure or where for instance the operators because there is increment in the number of subscribers need to expand their infrastructure because for every telecommunication service there is a limit and capacity of the infrastructure that has been installed.
“But I must say that some factors affecting the sector may not be completely be on NCC, some may not be on the service providers and of course not be on the subscribers themselves but where there are situations or where a mixture of various challenges that are external to provision of services it may affect quality of service but as much as possible we want to encourage subscribers or consumers of telecommunications to take advantage of the platforms we have offered to make them enjoy value for their money.