Posted by By Luka Binniyat on
ABUJAŚ AFTER a stormy session at the Consumer Parliament of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) last night in Abuja....
ABUJAŚ AFTER a stormy session at the Consumer Parliament of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) last night in Abuja, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, agreed that the current rate of Short Message Service (SMS) which towers around N12 per message in all GSM networks, was unjustified and would be forced to drop to about N5.
Engr. Ndukwe while parrying several calls for a drop in the charges of telecommunication services and improved interconnection among networks, agreed that there was room for drastic, downward adjustment of SMS or text messages to around N5 as suggested by an aggrieved subscriber who had earlier made the suggestion at the parliament.
"The transaction in the SMS zone is in a fraction of a second. It does not occupy the network. I see no reason why the operators would not adjust the charges downward. We will be calling for a public hearing on the issue very soon so that everyone can make his argument. We will encourage the operators to reduce the SMS rate by themselves. But if they do not, we have the power to do so," he said.
Engr. Ndukwe also said the problems of call drop and billing were not confined to Nigeria.
On the observation by subscribers that radiation from some mobile phone and telecom masts have harmful effect on human health, Ndukwe said: "There are about two billion mobile phones in the world. In Europe and America, they have been using this technology decades before us in Nigeria. We only have about 24 million active lines in Nigeria. Just a tiny fraction of it. I do not know how many have been killed by this radiation.
"In Sweden, the GSM penetration is about 110 per cent. And they are the first to use the technology. How many of them have been killed by this radiation? My family and I use these phones. You think I want them to die or any of my children?"
He said as far as the NCC was concerned, the radiation level in the mobile phones coming into Nigeria and all transmission facilities in telecom masts met world health standards.
Advancing reasons to support sustenance of the current call tariff maintained by Vmobile network, the Head of Department, Contact Centre of Vmobile, Folashade Akinlade, said as long as high power cost constituted 68 per cent of the operation cost of Vmobile network, there was no way call rates would fall for now.
"Diesel cost is such a scaring issue that we are even afraid to talk about its cost," she said.