Make data prices affordable to Nigerians, Umar Danbatta urges Telecos

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Friday urged telecom companies to reciprocate the reduction in the Right of Way (RoW) by making data prices more affordable to Nigerians.

Its Executive Vice Chairman Professor Umar Garba Danbatta stated this while addressing participants at First Virtual Edition of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament (VTCP) held at the NCC Head office, Abuja.

Danbatta explained that considering steps taken by the present administration to reduce the charges of RoW below N145 per linear metre, while some states waved the charges out rightly, it had become necessary for operators to reciprocate the gesture.

“The Commission is hopeful that with the reduction in RoW, which will automatically result in a reduction in capital expenditure (CAPEX) by the network operators, telecom companies will sooner or later reciprocate the gesture by making their services in particular, data services more affordable to Nigerians”, Danbatta said.

He said the event with the theme: “Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Telecoms Service Delivery” was organised, taking into consideration, the dynamics of the global pandemic and the directives from the Federal Government on social distancing and other measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof Danbatta said the parliament also provided an opportunity for industry stakeholders, to have a quick look at how the pandemic is impacting service delivery in the telecommunication industry, which currently provides the digital platform for the economy to remain afloat.

“As we all are aware, telecoms are highly capital intensive, and as such, continuous network upgrade and expansion are very key to operators’ ability to deliver top-notch QoS to their consumers.

“For instance, if operators are not able to expand or they are incapacitated to expand and upgrade their network in the face of a spike in traffic, as occasioned by the pandemic, it will definitely have a potential grave impact on Quality of Service delivery.

“Despite the pandemic and the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus, we on our part have also not relented to ensure that the quality of telecom services is sustained during and post COVID–19 period,” Danbatta asserted.

Speaking at the event, the Executive Commissioner Stakeholders Management, Mr Adeleke Adewolu warned against the activities of cybercriminals, urging the people to remain vigilant.

Adewolu said: “you will agree with me that while access to high-speed broadband connectivity is getting more pervasive and available to Nigerians to improve efficiency in their daily activities.

“Associated with this increased use, cybercriminals, cyber hackers or cyber fraudsters whose stock in trade is to perpetuate criminality on the Internet has heightened since the outbreak of COVID-19. These cybercriminals defraud unsuspecting internet users who now, more than ever before rely on broadband internet to reach friends, clients, and partners.”

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