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Data cost reduction: Minister extends deadline as NCC intervenes

“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has granted the prayers of the Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, to properly position and empower the ministry to fulfil his digital economy objectives”

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has extended the deadline given to telecom operators to review the cost of data downwards.

Pantami had on Tuesday issued a five-day ultimatum for the operators to tackle the challenges of illegal data deductions and downward review of cost of data.

However, in a statement signed by the spokesperson for the minister, Mrs Uwa Suleiman, which was shared on the official Twitter handle of the ministry on Saturday, it was revealed that the deadline has been extended.

The statement said the directive of the minister had led the Nigeria Communications Commission to come up with strategies that would address the identified challenges.

Part of the statement read, “In a letter from the Executive Vice Chairman, received by the office of the Honourable Minister on the 8th of November 2019, the telecommunications regulator, intimated Dr Pantami of the strategies been taken to stem the tide of shortchanging subscribers by Mobile Network Operators.

“In its earlier attempts to tackle the challenges, the Commission informed the Honourable Minister that it had issued a directive to all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on the attendant penalties associated with Automatic Renewal and Forceful Subscription to Data and Value Added Services. The penalties include considerable financial sanctions on the erring operator.

“The Commission is in the process of carrying out a study on the End-of-Session Notification for Data Services and depending on the outcome, may issue a direction in accordance with the Act.

“Furthermore, in a bid to protect consumers, the Commission also notified the Honourable Minister of their regulation of the initial directive to include refunds to the consumer in established cases of unauthorised subscription.

“Dr Pantami has graciously granted an extension with the understanding that the Commission will resolve these issues within the shortest time possible.”

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