Idehen said that VAS was an important component of the Nigerian telecommunications ecosystem necessary for optimising the benefits of telecommunication services to consumers.
He added that VAS was non-core service beyond standard voice calls, SMS and data products.
According to him, it enables mobile network operators to develop additional revenue streams and can be used in any service industry for services available at little or no cost to promote their primary business
“The Nigeria VAS market, which is presently valued at about N79 billion ($220 million) is estimated to grow to about $500 million in 2021.
“The recent reform the commission embarks on in the VAS segment of the market is a further recognition of significant role of VAS in the entire telecommunications ecosystem,” he said.
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The director said that like every service, there were both positive and negative impact of VAS on consumers but the positives far outweighed the negatives.
He said that the commission therefore deemed it fit to find a balance between enabling the opportunities that the VAS providers offered to consumers while at the same time mitigating the challenges or inconvenience they could constitute to other consumers.
According to him, in finding a balance, service providers are licensed by the commission and are allowed to operate and provide value added services to consumers.
He added that “consumers are empowered through the Do Not Disturb (DND) facility to choose whether to allow or block access to these services on a full or partial basis.
”Consumers have been at the receiving end of unsolicited messages, fraudulent deduction of consumers’ credit for VAS not subscribed for, among others.
”And subscribers are asking if what the telecommunications companies and their third parties are adding is ‘value’ or ‘pain’ services,” he said.
Idehen said that with that in mind, NCC introduced the DND number 2442, which empowered consumers to block all unsolicited messages and VAS services.
He said that the commission issued a direction requesting that network providers should ensure that information on the DND service be disseminated after every revenue generating activity via the End of Call Notification (EOCN).
The director said that the EOCN would run for the period not less than 45 days and within the hours of 8am to 8pm daily from the receipt of the latest letter on the subject.
He said that the operators were also admonished to deploy this information through all their channels of communications.
The channels of communications include websites, social media platforms, bill boards, flash messages, text messages, Interactive Voice Response platform, radio jingles, newspapers advertisements and television commercials.