by Isi Esene
The Nigerian Communications Commission recently threatened that it will demand a fine from any telecommunications company that fails to provide free instant SMS call bill to all subscribers from November 1, 2012.
According to the NCC, erring telecom companies will be fined a sum of N5m. It insisted that a further N500,000 will be levied on the companies daily as long as the contravention persists.
This statement was released by the head of media and public relations, Reuben Muoka. It said the measure was agreed upon to guard against irregularities in call activity billing.
He said the telecoms companies “must provide full details of the cost of each call, and available balances to the subscriber.”
“This service is free to all subscribers with the commencement date for all the operators fixed for November 1, 2012.
“Any operator which fails to commence the service to its subscribers will be liable to fine in the sum of N5,000,000 (Five Million) as sanction and a further sum of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) per day as long as the contravention persists.”
According to the directive, subscribers should be allowed to reserve the rights to retain the facility or opt out of it free of charge.
The direction reportedly mandates the subscribers to send messages containing six critical information including: Exact duration of the Call Minutes and Seconds, Total Cost for each Call or SMS; Customer Accounts Balance after the last call for prepaid and SMS; Customer Account Balance after a charge or tariff and the reason for the charge or tariff; Cumulative call charges up to the last call within the charging period for post-paid customers; Cost of services and Credit balance upon request by customer for data service.
“This direction is a response to one of the major concerns of the subscribers as it relates to the actual amounts deducted from their credit balances by the service providers for each call or SMS sent. “
“With this direction, subscribers are empowered to promptly discover any anomaly in their bills, and will be able to prove if they are billed for calls that they did not make” the statement concluded.