Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has asserted the Commission’s role in proactive intervention of nipping the cases of call masking and call refiling in the bud.
In 2017, the NCC commenced the receiving of complaints on the cases of call masking/call refiling and SIM boxing, which was an anti-competitive practice and a threat to the security if the country.
According to the EVC, the Commission aligned with the Office of the National security Adviser (ONSA), taking drastic actions in identifying culprit licensees, sanctioned them accordingly and barred mobile numbers identified to have been involved in masked calling from their networks.
The NCC also went further to carry out a Proof of Concept (PoC) and MNOs have now developed technology solutions to prevent, detect and filter masked calls on their networks.
Also speaking on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) Short Code, Prof. Danbatta said:
“Our regulatory interventions in the area of issuance of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) Short Code to banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) have helped in deepening financial inclusion. T
o further ensure fair play between the MNOs and the banks regarding applicable charges for USSD, the Commission in July 23, 2019, issued a Determination for USSD Pricing.
The Determination defined a USSD session as 20 seconds, the price floor per USSD session is N1.63k, while the Price cap per USSD session is N4.89k.”
The EVC also mentioned the attempted commencement of the end-user billing by the MNOs for USSD usage, stating that it was greeted by public outcry, necessitating a temporary suspension of the provision of the USSD determination by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, pending when there would be proper understanding among stakeholders.
However, the Commission has revised the USSD determination putting an end to a prolonged dispute between financial institutions and MNOs on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.
The NCC also determined that MNOs must not charge the consumers directly for the use of USSD channels for financial services in the form of end-user-billing.
Rather, the transaction should be between the MNOs and the entity to which the service is provided (i.e. banks and OFIs).
The EVC also mentioned the efforts of the NCC, through its firm regulatory approach and foresight, also culminated in the listing of telecoms companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
“I am proud to say that the telcos’ listing has helped to translate into action an important objective of the Commission, which is to promote indigenous investment and ownership in the telecom sector.
Since their listing, the quoted telecoms companies have been keeping the Nigerian bourse upbeat and bullish with prospects for more listings in the future.”, Danbatta concluded
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to cfamedia weekly digest for updates.