Open Reply To Charles Ibekwe- Time For NCC To Grow Spine, By Dayo Akinpelumi
It will please you to know that, the meeting involved all stakeholders, which involved the 3 tiers in the sector: NCC, the Telco’s and the VASP (Value Added Service Providers)
VAS Services are not carried out by the Telco’s, they are carried out by Value added Service Providers whom are Licensed by the NCC, you need to get your facts right, reading down the line it is obvious you do not know that this tier exist in the Telecom Sector.
Service providers are licensed by the NCC and routine check on this service providers are made from time to time to make sure the are functioning within their jurisdiction/Licensed framework.
Various avenues have been put in place by the NCC to checkmate unsolicited SMS, such as the double-opt-in implementation on all services before a subscriber is plugged into a service, the NCC toll free number (622) for complaints and the mandate from NCC to all Telco’s to start blacklisting of numbers, as soon as a subscriber expresses his/her displeasure to any service he has opted into as well as the ban on auto-renewal of a subscriber without notice, this brought about a mechanism where 2 days before auto-renewal, an opt-out option is sent to the subscriber, giving him liberty to opt out of a service before he is charged again for the next rental period.
A lot of sensitization has been going on to let fellow Nigerian know that they can report straight to the NCC if they receive any unsolicited message or are plugged into any unwanted ring back tune.
Thousands of jobs have been created by the two hundred and fourteen (214) VAS companies licensed by the NCC to act as the intermediary between owners of intellectual property and the Telco’s.This job descriptions range from business developers, IT specialists, accountants, lawyers, Telecom Engineers and the list goes on.
“The VAS value chain, as envisaged should include service and content developers, service hosting and service providers – the aggregators, as well as the network operators. Network operators at the moment hijacked the three tiers. Because they have a kind of monopoly of these services, which they should not be offering in the first place, they are also involved in what amounts to price fixing that allows them to charge exorbitantly” –Charles Ibekwe
The above statement is highly unprofessional and has a tone of ignorance embedded in it, if you have vast knowledge in the industry as claimed, you would have come to realize that the 3 tier exists and all perform functions within their jurisdiction.
“For instance, have you ever imagined that SMS are supposed to be free of charge (or part of the package for subscribing and paying to a particular Telco); yet Nigerians were once paying N15 per SMS? How was it possible for the network operators to offer promos in which they can give 1000 free SMS and then go back to continue charging for the same service they should have offered for free?” –Charles Ibekwe
If this is offered for free, how then are they supposed to maintain infrastructure that offer these service, how then are they supposed to pay staff, how will the government generate the revenue it ought to? As evidently seen, the NCC regulated this price to as low as N4 per SMS across all networks, safe guarding the interest of Nigerians
Intellectual property owners – musicians, comedians, authors and owners of various literary works, etc. do no deal with the Telco’s directly apart from being ambassadors, their creative materials, contents and intellectual property are handled by the VAS companies whom are the intermediary to the Telco’s.
“Without a formally licensed aggregator or middleman, the Telco’s have become something akin to record label or movie producers/companies. They can decide to, for instance, offer any artiste a paltry percentage of the total profit derivable from his/her intellectual property. Since this segment of the business is not regulated or liberalized, it is a zero-some, winner-takes-all market space for the Telco’s” –Charles Ibekwe
This statement is erroneous and only sabotages the obligations being carried out by the Telco’s.
A lump some of cash flow is being generated from locally produced content, and it is evident in the continued improvement in the quality of works produced in the industry.
Do you know how many billion is being generated by the telecommunication industry yearly? and in particular from VAS Companies? In form of withholding taxes, company income tax, Value added tax on every service offered to the Telco’s? The employee taxes being generated after these companies have paid their staff, the 1% remittance of Annual staff salary to the industrial training fund? All and these constitute a substantial amount not forgetting the Annual Operation Levy to the Commission, and so many others
I will want to believe your statement “The VAS platform is reported to be worth at least over N300billion yearly but there is no record of government making corresponding benefit from it by way of additional tax remittances. Let us not forget that the additional thousands of employments that VAS would generate will translate into more PAYE tax for the government to finance public infrastructure” is an assumption by you, for if you have done your research appropriately, you would have come across the existence of VAS Companies as well as the heavy amount of taxes levied on these companies.
Voice and data is the only obligation being carried out by the Telco’s in Nigeria as exists in other markets/countries.
Telco’s only legal affiliation to aggregators/content providers/VAS providers is the provision of content to subscribers by leveraging on the Telco’s infrastructure.
In summary the above write-up lacks merit and it’s an unfounded accusation to the NCC as well as the Telco’s, I consider this an act to sabotage the efforts being put in place by the various stakeholders of the industry to strengthen the Telecommunication sector.