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NCC identifies 7 factors causing data depletion for Nigerian mobile subscribers

Data depletion

The Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has identified seven factors causing data depletion for mobile subscribers in Nigeria.

This comes amidst an increase in complaints from subscribers about how their data subscriptions are getting drained quickly. While many subscribers have been blaming the service providers for stealing their data, information released by the Commission suggests otherwise.

Specifically, mobile network operators comprising, MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile have been at the center of consumer complaints on data depletion.

According to the Commission, there are several factors causing data depletion for most subscribers and these include:

  1. Background apps: NCC observed that some apps continue to consume data even when the users are not actively using them. “Background data usage can quickly add up and deplete your data allowance,” the Commission said.
  2. Automatic updates: The Commission added that automatic updates for apps, operating systems, and other software can also use up a significant amount of data.
  3. Location services: GPS and other location services can consume a lot of data, according to NCC, especially if you use navigation apps like Google Maps.
  4. Advertisements: Some apps display ads that use data. “These ads can consume data even if you don't interact with them,” the Commission stated.
  5. Roaming: The telecom regulator also identified roaming as one of the factures that could lead to data depletion. “If you travel abroad and use your phone, you may be subject to data roaming charges, which can quickly add up and deplete your data allowance.”
  6. Malware: The Commission added that malware and viruses can consume data without your knowledge. “If you suspect that your phone has been infected, it's important to remove the malware as soon as possible.”
  7. Excessive usage: According to the NCC, one of the main reasons for data depletion is excessive usage. “If you use your phone to stream videos or music, download large files, or use data-intensive apps for a long time, your data limit can quickly be depleted,” it said.

To reduce incidences of data depletion, the Commission advised subscribers to always monitor their data usage, turn off background data usage for specific apps, and switch off automatic updates.

The Commission also advised mobile users to disable location services for some specific apps as such services consume a lot of data. For unsolicited advertisements, the telecom regulator advised the subscribers to install ad-blockers.

The regulator also suggests connecting to Wi-Fi whenever possible for mobile subscribers to avoid using their cellular data. “You can connect to Wi-Fi at home, work, or in public places like cafes or libraries,” the Commission said.

Ultimately, the regulator said any subscriber that consistently runs out of data should consider upgrading to a larger data plan.

Meanwhile, in a move suggesting that the service providers might also be a factor in the data depletion complaints from the subscribers, the Commission recently directed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to conduct an independent audit of their billing systems.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Aminu Maida, the Commission is also concluding a consultation process to simplify tariff plans, that would provide enhanced transparency to the consumer.

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