By Victor Akindele
Telecommunications subscribers in Nigeria lodged a total of 3,019 complaints with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) between January and March this year over network issues. This is according to the Q1, 2021 Report on Complaint Management released by the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Commission.
The telecoms regulator, however, disclosed that it was able to resolve 99.2 per cent of the service-related complaints received consumers across the major network operators. The report also showed that that there was a 5.7 per cent increase in consumer complaints this year compared to Q1 2020, when the Commission received 2,854.
The consumer complaint channels include the Commission’s Contact Centre, through which the toll-free number 622 is managed, NCC Consumer Portal, NCC social media platforms and written complaints.
According to the report, of the 3,019 consumer complaints, 2,995 consumer complaints, representing 99.2 per cent, were successfully resolved while only 24, representing 0.8 per cent, which were escalated to service providers, are pending resolution from the respective service providers in line with the revised Consumer Complaint/Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA) of 2019.
A breakdown of the consumer complaints received within the period under review shows that 2,759 (91.4 per cent) came through the NCC Contact Centre; 188 (6.2 per cent) were received via the NCC Consumer Portal; 50 (1.7 per cent) complaints came to the Commission through its various social media platforms, while 22 (0.7 per cent) were written complaints.
With respect to breakdown by service providers’ customers, 1,261 (51.8 per cent) of the total complaints were lodged by MTN customers, 973 representing 32.2 per cent relate to Airtel subscribers, 549 (18.2 per cent) were accounted for by Globacom subscribers; 179 (5.9 per cent) by 9Mobile customers, while the remaining 52 complaints came from customers of other licensees.
On a month-on-month basis, 971 complaints were received in January, 1,039 in February and 1,009 in March. The report also shows that issues related to billings, quality of service/experience for voice as well as quality of service/experience for data were the three topmost complaint types from telecom consumers in the period under review.
Commenting on the report, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said NCC, as a consumer-centric telecoms regulator, will continue to explore new initiatives to strengthen the existing consumer complaints management process while ensuring prompt and satisfactory resolution of all complaints.
He urged the consumers to continue to take advantage of the various channels made available by the Commission, including the 622 toll-free consumer complaints line, the Commission’s consumer web portal on its website and other social media channels to promptly lodge their complaints in the event of service dissatisfaction.
“NCC’s actions in this regard are in line with its mandate to protect and defend the rights and interests of the consumer, and to give concrete expression to its faith in the consumer as the lifeblood of the telecoms sector,” Danbatta said.
Expressing satisfaction with the report, Danbatta emphasised that the Commission will remain committed, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to continually improve quality of service both for voice and data services, assuring consumers of NCC’s readiness to always defend their rights and interests.