The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may take regulatory action on telecommunications operators over migration of subscribers to Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) data plan, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The regulatory body gave the indication in its “2015 Q4 Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Reports’’, made available to NAN on Monday in Lagos.
It said the commission had been inundated with complaints from telecommunications consumers regarding the current practices by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
The report said MNOs were automatically migrating subscribers from their data plan account to PAYG account, upon the depletion of their data account, thus leading to cases of bill shock to the subscribers.
The commission had issued a directive to all MNOs against automatic migration of subscribers’ data services to PAYG billing platform upon data depletion with effect from Aug. 24, 2015.
According to the report, this is pursuant to section 53 (1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
It said that NCC directed that where a subscriber’s data bundle account was fully depleted before the due date, service providers should notify the subscriber via Short Messaging Service (SMS).
It added that the operators should give subscribers information regarding the tariff/billing rate for migration to PAYG billing.
The report said all service providers should henceforth stop auto-migration of subscribers’ data service to PAYG account upon depletion of their data bundle account.
According to the report, this can only be done with the express consent and authorisation of the subscribers via SMS.
It said that following the directive, the regulatory body carried out compliance Technical Audit of operator’s auto-migration platform from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, 2015 to ascertain their level of compliance.
The report noted that arising from the exercise operators were directed to oblige the commission with the figure of active data service subscribers for the months of September, October and November 2015.
The operators were directed to oblige the commission with their lists of subscribers whose data got exhausted in each of these months.
They were to oblige NCC with the lists of subscribers who opted for PAYG in each of these months and who opted for bundle purchase, including evidence of their authorisation.
The operators were directed to make available the lists of subscribers who neither selected the PAYG nor identified a bundle plan purchase (no action).
All data provided must come with an audit trail. The submissions received are currently being analysed to guide the commission’s further regulatory actions on the matter,’’ the report said.
It said that the commission’s activities were consistent with Section 89 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
The section mandated NCC to monitor all significant matters relating to the performance of all licensed telecommunications service providers and publish annual reports at the end of each financial year, it noted.
The report said that NCC had developed Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Strategies to prosecute the above mandate and achieve its objective of fair competition.
The NCC has also developed ethical market conduct and optimal quality of service in the Nigerian telecommunications industry. (NAN)
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