The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), an umbrella body of telecoms and ICT companies operating in Nigeria, has assured telecoms and ICT consumers of the protection of their rights by its members.
The Executive Secretary of ATCON, Mr. Ajibola Olude who gave the assurance while speaking in webinar on the topic “The Role Telecommunications Companies on the Protection of Consumers’ Right’ hosted by the National Human Rights Commission with the theme: ‘Consumer Protection Amidst the Pandemic: Business and Human Rights Implications’, stated that the telecoms operators will not abuse consumer protection laws.
While describing the consumers as development partners in the journey of developing Nigeria’s Digital Economy, he said that “consumers are the life blood of business so we take them with all sense of seriousness.”
He said that although the telecoms operators may not increase tariff, he however recalled that at peak of COVID-19 Pandemic, the prices that our members charge remain stable and they did not take advantage of that moment rather they supported the government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Olude disclosed that ATCON members have been champions of consumer rights law noting that that had precipitated the introduction of Telecoms Consumers’ Rights Protection Initiatives such as Per-seconds billing, Cancellation of Airtime and data validity period, Airtime and Data Roll-over, Mobile number portability, Do-Not-Disturb, Improved and efficient customers’ complaint platforms.
The ATCON scribe while highlighting the advantages of the reforms on the telecom Sector stated that it was responsible for the efficient and effective service delivery, migration from government owned and control telecom companies to private owned companies, increase in local and international telecom financing as well as high creativity and innovation which are now the hallmarks of private ownership of telecom companies.
According to Olude, ATCON played a key role in terms of advocating for a liberalised market saying that presently there is a reduction in underserved and unserved areas while the telecoms is now a higher contribution to GDP of the country.
He recalled that some of the challenges that open the liberalisation of the industry are still saying that the telecoms operators still battle with the network rollout challenges, restricted choices, poor quality of service and poor service delivery.
He further recalled that before the liberalization there were several with government owning telecom companies which include depravation of telephone lines by Nigerians, poor contribution to GDP of Nigeria, less people were employed by the sector, lack of professionals in the sector, poor funding of the sector in terms of infrastructure development and large scale corruption and embezzlement.
Isaiah Erhiawarien, Lagos Nigeria