Thursday, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) announced intentions to implement data conservation measures for telecom customers.

At the 91st edition of the telecom consumer parliament (TCP), titled “Data depletion: discussion on the many viewpoints,” held at the NCC’s Communications & Digital Economy Complex in Abuja, the NCC published this information.

The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Umar Danbatta, stated at the occasion that the issue of data depletion has been one of the most common concerns from telecom customers since their switch to 4G/LTE technology.

Data Depletion happens when a subscriber exhausts his or her data bundle prior to the expiration date or when a greater volume of data is used to access online content.

Mr. Danbatta, who was represented by Muhammed Babajika, the director of licensing and authorisation at the NCC, stated that consumers have been experiencing depletion of their data either as a result of data usage or consumption, and that they are constantly informing the commission of their experiences through various channels of complaint.

He claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic provided the impetus for the worldwide expansion of new technologies, which created a variety of services, dynamic business models, and new global possibilities and markets.

“According to the recorded increase in the use of computers, cellphones, smart watches, and other technology-dependent products that have provided customers access to multifunctional comfort and usefulness, the Nigerian telecom business was not exempt.

Through social and instant messaging programs, technology has facilitated communication for the bulk of the population. Without a question, the internet is the underpinning technology for these services, as it drives connectedness.

“In the context of their internet subscriptions and use, customers are experiencing what they refer to as anomalous depletion of their data, which is why we are here today,” he explained.

Moreover, he stated that Mobile Network Operators throughout the globe have had to address problems posed by new technology.

“This discussion could not have occurred at a better moment, as Nigeria proceeds with the rest of the world toward 5G technology with the award of 3.5GHz spectrum licenses to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, MAFAB Communications Limited, and Airtel Networks Limited,” he explained.

5G Technologies

He added that while 4G technology gives superior download speeds, bandwidth, and voice quality compared to 3G technology, 5G technology provides ultra-high speed data, low latency, and greater bandwidth than 4G technology.

“Before we fully initiate 5G utilization, it is crucial that we thoroughly realize and comprehend the challenges surrounding data depletion, its usage, and consumption in the era of 4G technology.

“The interests of the telecom consumer are of the utmost concern to us, and as the telecom regulator, it is our obligation to ensure that the customer’s voice is heard and that their complaints are addressed by the appropriate authorities,” he said.

Against this backdrop, he added, the commission called the main industry actors to discuss today in order to hear the diverse viewpoints on this pervasive issue, identify the potential reasons, and strategize the way ahead.

“As much as the Commission has a commitment to the telecom customer, it equally has an obligation to the Industry. This is a symbiotic relationship in which neither party can thrive without the other.

“Consumers are the foundation of the operators’ company; if their interests were disregarded, the operators’ investments would fail, and the commission would have no industry to supervise.

“Thus, it is prudent that we take use of the opportunity provided by the commission’s high-level outreach events, such as this parliament, to engage in a meaningful exchange of ideas on how to minimize the obstacles to successful service delivery,” he added.

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