By Olabisi Olaleye
Telecoms providers in the country under the umbrella body of the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (Alton),insisted that there are better ideas for the regulation of Value Added Services (VAS) segment market than what the regulator,Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is bringing to the table.
Speaking yesterday in Lagos, Alton Chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, during a consultative forum on the draft regulatory framework for the provision of VAS in Nigeria organised by NCC, injected new ideas on how the segment could be regulated in order to move the industry forward.
Adebayo disclosed that Alton is in tandem with NCC to prevent “service users” from using short codes to perpetuate fraud; addressing the menace of unsolicited text messages that flood customers’ phones; and prevent anti-competitive activities.
He however said Alton feel deeply concerned about a large number of the provisions in the guidelines such as creation of market structure; restriction of operators from providing VAS; and creation of VAS hosting service providers which could impact heavily on mobile operators investments. While urging NCC to discard further consideration of the proposals.
Adebayo also called on NCC to re-constitute the Short Code Working Group (which it graciously constituted) or enlarge it to include other stakeholders, including consumers if necessary and NCC should review its framework for issuing VAS licenses to weed out fraud.
Speaking earlier , NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta, of NCC said the regulatory framework when finalised will complement the National Communication Act 2003, and the respective licences issued by NCC in providing guiding principles, standards and protocols for the VAS operation of the industry. He maintained that the segment is overdue for regulation as envisaged in the eight-point agenda of NCC specifically on Promotion of ICT Innovation and Investment Opportunities.
The EVC said theVAS segment to the consolidation of the gains of the telecom sector is one reason for the draft regulatory framework, which is very significant.