NCC Carpets Telecos Promos, Lotteries
By Ikenna UGWU
ABUJA: The Nation’s Telecommunication Regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, yesterday banned all promotions and lotteries being run by telecoms companies with immediate effect.
The commission said in recent times, it had received several complaints from consumers and industry stakeholders against the promotions offered by the telecommunications operators. In a statement by the NCC’s Public Affairs Director, Mr. Tony Ojobo, and made available to Newsmen yesterday, the commission said the ban would remain in force until the commission deemed fit. The affected telecoms operators include Globacom, MTN Nigeria, Intercellular Limited, Visafone, Etisalat, Airtel Network Limited and Multi-Links Telecoms Limited. NCC said the ban includes “all promotions by telecommunications network operators and lotteries being carried out on such networks.
It covers all proposed and approved promotions and lotteries on which the commission has given approval further to the memorandum of understanding, MoU, entered into with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission.
The commission, in the statement, explained that it had carefully evaluated the complaints received, especially against the backdrop of sustaining the integrity of the networks, the general interest of the consumers, the socio-economic impact of these promotions on operators and other stakeholders.
The NCC added that it was mindful of its statutory responsibilities to protect and promote the interest of consumers against unfair practices, promote fair competition in the industry by protecting operators from misuse of market power and anti-competitive and unfair practices by other operators. Consequently, the commission said “in due regard to the afore-mentioned responsibilities, therefore, and having observed that these promotions have increased the number of minutes available to subscribers for use within a limited period of time, such development created congestion in the networks as subscribers try to use up the available minutes within the stipulated time.”
It added that “On-net calls were now being offered by operators at tariffs well below the prevailing interconnects rates thereby introducing anti-competitive practices and behaviour. “And that terminations of calls were becoming increasingly difficult from one network to another and overall consumer experience on the networks has become very poor, thereby making it extremely difficult for subscribers to make calls successfully.”