The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that several factors, both technical and non-technical, are to blame for the problem of data depletion being faced by telecommunications subscribers.
According to the Commission’s Director of Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Engr. Edoyemi Ogoh, most browsers technically play videos by default even when a user only opens a site to read text. Ogoh was speaking at the 91st Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP), which was hosted by the Commission.
He listed additional data-consumption factors like background app updates and smartphone uploads of photos and videos to the cloud. The faster internet speed brought on by the switch to 4G, which automatically plays videos in high-definition formats and uses more data, is one of the other technical factors, in his opinion.
Non-technical factors: Ogoh said data is being depleted by other factors, which are non-technical and these include:
- The low purchasing power of subscribers leads to the purchase of small bundle sizes with short periods of use leading to an increased frequency of data depletion complaints.
- Growth of social media, online advertisements and default audio-visual activations in web browsers and apps.
- Lack of consumer awareness and education.
- Use of sub-standard and fake subscriber devices.
- Expiry of data bundle usage timeline before data bundle exhaustion.
When a subscriber uses up all of his or her data bundles before the expiration date or when more volume is used to access online content than what the subscriber thinks is appropriate or what is appropriate, data depletion occurs.
Data depletion is one of the most common complaints telecom users in the nation make, according to Prof. Umar Danbatta, the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, who made the statement earlier. He pointed out that the majority of complaints are a result of consumers switching to 4G/LTE technology recently.
“It is, therefore, important that we appreciate entirely and understand the issues surrounding data depletion, its usage, and consumption in the era of 4G technology before we fully commence 5G usage. It is against this backdrop that the Commission invited the key industry players today to dialogue on the theme.
“As much as the commission has an obligation to the telecom consumer, it also has an obligation to the Industry; a symbiotic relationship in which one party cannot survive without the other.
“The consumers are the basis for the operators’ business; if their interests are ignored, the operators’ investments would collapse, and there would be no industry for the Commission to regulate,” the EVC said.
The TCP, which had in attendance executives of telecom companies in Nigeria and subscribers was themed: “Data Depletion: Discussions on Various Perspectives.” The NCC organized it to understand the various perspectives on the prevalent issue, identify the possible causes, and brainstorm on the way forward.