NCC: Danbatta calls for strategic thinking

OrderPaperToday – The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has called on global players in the telecommunications industry to employ strategic thinking, while noting that there is a need to promote innovation and investment in the sector.

Professor Danbatta made the call during a panel session of the recently concluded 2018 World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Spain. He remarked that the strategic vision plan he unveiled two years ago, in the form of an 8-Point Agenda document, has made significant impact on the growth of telecommunications sector in Nigeria.

He said: “In Nigeria, we are trying to digitally transform and the process is on-going as I am talking to you. Hence we’ve been paying attention to 5 interdependent elements of the digital transformation processes: enabling policies and institutions, human capital, applied ICT industry, communications infrastructure ICT applications and institutional change.”

Danbatta also observed that prior to assuming office as the Chief Regulator of the telecoms sector, broadband penetration stood at about 8 percent, but it is now 22 percent according to the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.

“We also decided to look at how we can improve Quality of Service consistent with key performance indicators that characterize the quality of service. The information we are getting from the consumers as well what we source from network operators is that Quality of Service has improved. The experience by consumers through their accounts also indicate significant improvement,” he said.

He also mentioned the successful auctioning of the spectrum 2.6 GHZ band, which contributes to broadband penetration in the country.

“When we started the campaign, we were inundated with a deluge of complaints, especially on unsolicited text messages sent to consumers, and in many cases, they were surcharged. We have put behind this menace in Nigeria through the campaign.

“As I am talking to you we have a Do-Not-Disturb facility, which is very easy to use by consumers. More than 9million users have activated this facility. Again, close to that number have gained access to our 622 toll-free line which is provided to consumers to lodge their complaints on the quality of service provided by the telecommunication firms,” he explained.

However, he observed that: “There is a need for renewed thinking in developing policy and regulatory framework in the industry. The Regulator should promote innovation, investment and better quality of service, as well as put in place mechanisms that will limit unfair pricing and exploitation of consumers.”

Other notable industry giants who participated in the panel discussion include, Ajit Varadaraj Pai, the Chief Regulator of the United States Federal Communications Commission, Ram Sewak Sharma, the Chief Regulator of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, and German Dario Arias Pimienta of Communications Regulatory, Colombia.

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