NCC grants new concessions to telecom operators 

Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC says it has approved new concessions to telecom operators.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta disclosed this at its 84th edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament, TCP, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The theme of the 84th edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament was “Improving Service Delivery to Telecom Consumer: Key to Industry Sustainability.”

Professor Dabantta said the new palliative was aimed at providing a level playing field, especially for the smaller operators in the industry and to bridge access gaps across the country.

‘‘These palliatives range from reduction from the amount they pay for spectrum and others that will be made available as soon as the memo requesting the approval is received. I granted the approval yesterday and the details will be made available. I went through the memo and I know there are palliatives.”

He added that “there are palliatives for spectrum and there is reduction, there is also a palliative for payment itself. We are introducing palliatives by way of instalment payments, spreading the payment rather than compelling operators to make full payment for spectrum acquisition. Information on the new palliatives will be provided in due course.”

On the issue of rural Telecom projects, the Danbatta noted that the Commission is in partnership with relevant stakeholders to deploy transceiver stations to areas that do not have areas and to bridge the existing access gaps.

Professor Umar said that “there is need to find ingenious ways to close these gaps within sorter period of time and technology fortunately for us presents itself amenable to solving this problem in shorter time. There is a Rural Technology Solution which we have deployed through a pilot scheme in about three locations in the country and we are very happy about the outcome of this pilot deployment,” he explained.

He also noted that “We are in partnership with those in possession of these technologies here in Nigeria to reciprocate the deployment beyond the pilot, so that we can close 20 of those access gaps and then see what happens. But by my estimation, we can through rural technology solution bridge the gaps in about 3-4 years,” Danbatta said.

The Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau, Mrs. Felia Onwuegbuchulam   explained that the meeting was aimed at informing protecting and educating consumers of telecom services on the issues of common interest and current development in the industry.

Some telecom consumers who spoke to Voice of Nigeria expressed satisfaction with services rendered by the NCC while other said the commission needs to do more especially in ensuring that service providers make their services accessible and reliable at all times.