The National Communications Authority (NCA) has met mobile network operators to discuss and implement measures on consumer concerns relating to Tariff and Billing issues as well as Quality of Service.
Speaking at the meeting, the Director General of the NCA, Mr Joe Anokye stressed that today’s consumers have become more demanding and no longer choose speed, quality or price, but demand and expect all three.
As a result, the authority, as part of its mandate, has to ensure that consumers receive the value of the service they pay for.
Mr Anokye charged the service providers to work diligently to implement mechanisms by the end of February, 2018 to address some specific concerns. They include
- automatic migration to pay-as-you-go when bundle is exhausted without notification to consumer and their consent,
- automatic renewal of one-time bundles,
- deceptive advertising of promotions,
- lack of proof of consent and retention of customer information and
- quality of service (call drops, congestion etc.)
The operators were informed that the NCA had acquired a Billing Verification System which was aimed at monitoring billing and protecting both consumers and the service providers.
Mr Anokye referred to an initial monitoring exercise the Authority had conducted where it was revealed that the billing configurations of some operators were not consistent; with some of them undercharging or overcharging consumers.
As a result, the Authority wants to promote transparency in billing within the industry.
The Billing Verification System (BVS) has the ability to simulate consumer behaviour and to determine whether consumers are billed accurately or not.
Mr Anokye referred the operators to previous engagements with them last year and said that the NCA expects an enhanced quality of services.
He said part of the rationale behind the regulatory decision to permit mobile operators with 2G Licences to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems (UMTS), which is a 3G technology, was to improve voice and data services in unserved and underserved communities across the country.
The operators were informed that NCA’s regular quality of service Drive Test monitoring across the country would resume in March, 2018.
The monitoring would include coverage obligations, voice quality and data quality as stated in their licence conditions and with specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). All 3G Licence Holders are required to provide in all 216 district capitals.
The Director General reiterated that the network operators were expected to meet and exceed their obligations in their licences, given that the KPIs in their licences were outdated due to technological advancement and needs to be reviewed.
In response, the operators said they were committed to address the consumer issues as it would help grow their business by pleasing customers in order to retain and expand their customer base.
Mr Anokye said he was optimistic that the outcome of the meeting would be positive in order to meet consumer’s expectations especially when operators in other countries had achieved these goals.
He said the NCA would work closely with the operators to improve the industry, ensure quality for consumers and build confidence within the industry. Mr Anokye added that the authority would not hesitate to apply sanctions if operators failed to meet their licence obligations.