The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has stressed that it played a key role in advocating for a liberalized telecoms market in Nigeria.
The Association’s Executive Secretary made this statement while speaking at the 2nd Webinar Series on Sustainability, Business and Human Rights themed: “Consumer Protection Amidst the Pandemic: Business and Human Rights Implication” jointly organized by the International Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (lN-CSR) and the National Human Rights Commission.
Olude stated that ATCON’s effort has helped to open the market to investments, encourage healthy competition and innovations as well as offer consumers options that have the market more robust for both operators and consumers.
Market liberalization has brought numerous benefits to all stakeholders including “efficient and effective service delivery; increase in local and international telecom financing; high creativity and innovation are the hallmarks of private ownership of telecom companies; reduction in underserved and unserved areas; and higher contribution to GDP of the country.”
While speaking on this, he emphasized on some telecoms consumers’ rights protection initiatives that have been achieved to include Per-second billing; cancellation of airtime and data validity innovation period, airtime and data roll-over; mobile number portability; improved and efficient customer complaint channels and the Do-Not-Disturb initiative which are the hallmarks of private ownership of telecom companies.
Speaking on the sub-topic, “The role of telecommunications companies in Q protecting consumer rights”, Mr. Olude highlighted the advantages of telecom sector reform in the country. These include efficient and effective service delivery; migration from government owned and control telecom companies to private owned companies; increase in local and international telecom financing and reduction in underserved and unserved areas.
Others, he said, are higher contribution to GDP of the country and high creativity and innovation which are the hallmarks of private ownership of telecom companies.
He further stated that protecting consumers’ right has led to the development of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019, which stopped the unauthorized sharing of Nigerians’ data and protect Nigerians on the web.
Mr. Olude assured that the protection of consumer interests will remain a key duty of operators: “I want to strongly advise telecom and lCT consumers that our members may not increase prices of their services and we shall not abuse consumer protection laws as we see them as development partners in the journey of developing Nigeria’s Digital Economy.
“Consumers are the life blood of business so we take them with all sense of seriousness. We have not worked until telecoms consumers are satisfied,”said Olude.
He said that in the height of COVlD-19 Pandemic, the prices that ATCON members charges had remained stable as they did not take advantage of the moment rather had supported the government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“Protecting consumer rights and interest are the basis of telecom companies’ existence. ATCON’s member companies will continue to treat consumers as kings.” Olude noted.