Why We Convened Webinar On The Need Of Telecom/ICT Consumers-ATCON President


By Kingsley I. Ilechukwu, Correspondent Lagos

Umbrella body, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has outlined the rationale for drawing telecoms and ICT bigwigs to a virtual forum in the era COVID-19 and post COVID-19 pandemic cum digital economy era with a view to meeting the new broadband target under the theme: “Meeting the Interests of Government, Consumers and Telecom & ICT Companies in the Era of COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Pandemic for Digital Economy Development”, held over Zoom on Thursday,  August 7, 2020.

ATCON President Olusola Teniola,  in his welcome address to the participants explained  that the strategic objectives of the  very important sectoral forum was to converge regulators’ Interests -to ensure a competitive telecom market and fast track development of the telecom and ICT industry.

Teniola explained that operators’ Interests  constituted an enabling environment for businesses and protection of investment in the sector while consumers’ interests  was to be satisfied in terms of quality of services, affordability access and connectivity for Digital Economy Development.


ATCON was full of praises  for  the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami,  “who has been working assiduously to change the narrative of Nigeria through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. As we all know, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy commissioned a number of projects that have reflected the dividend of sustainable development programme of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

About the Virtual Forum

According to the President of ATCON: “Nigeria’s Telecom Sector has witnessed several important developments – President Muhammadu Buhari on October 23, 2019 renamed the ministry which supervises the Telecoms and ICT Sector to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and further expand its mandate to capture the goals of digitalization of the Nigerian economy in line with the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP), the recently launched National Broadband Plan 2020 to 2025, the unveiling of a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and the constitution of Implementation and Steering Committee for the plan, all these would empower Nigerians (consumers) to take advantage of the Nigerian digital economy. It should be emphasized that interdependence and collaboration among the government, telecom and ICT Companies and Nigerians are clearly necessary but each of separate stakeholder has limitations and potentials hence the forum is expected to make an attempt to address the challenges and turn them to advantage for the development of our Telecom and ICT Sector in the era of COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Gratitude to sponsors

Teniola stated that the event would not have been possible without the support of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), IHS, VDT Communications, IpNX Limited, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), PPC Limited, Galaxy Backbone, MainOne, Pan African Towers Limited, Medallion Communications, NIGCOMSAT and Layer3 Limited, among others.


He concluded his address by saying: “ATCON is providing this veritable platform for Governments, Consumers (corporate and personal) and Telecommunications and ICT Companies to rub minds on how consumers can be better off in terms of effective delivery of telecoms and ICT services and products in Nigeria, to attract further investment into the sector through consumerism and enactment of friendly policies and regulation by the Government. We are sure that our members would use the feedback(s) from this forum to improve and model their service delivery going forward. Once again, I welcome you all and look forward a successful deliberation.”

Intervening in his capacity as special guest of honour at the webinar, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer(EVC/CEO) of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta observed that the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly and sharply ravaged the globe, Nigeria being no exception. 

Said he: “Governments therefore, faced unprecedented challenges from  COVID-19 pandemic. The impact affects most sectors of the global economy, ranging from health, to education, to finance, to trade and investment, etcetera.  However, as Governments slowly opened-up their economies  amidst the pandemic, this requires the utilization of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a principal resource for protecting the health and safety of citizens, as well as, ensuring socio-economic activities pick-up.  It is worth to mention that, at the heart of ICT is the Telecoms  Infrastructure, which ensures the collapse of distance as a barrier for communications.”

Prof. Danbatta also provided a fleeting rundown of the achievements of the Commission in terms of meeting the aspirations of telecoms stakeholders, particularly telecoms consumers, whom he said were the primary reason for the existence of his agency as a telecoms regulatory authority.

He outlined a few consumer-centric achievement s of his agency reeling out relevant statistics to buttress his points.

On Mobile Number Portability (MNP) a service that empowers consumers to migrate to other networks without losing their numbers, Danbatta stated that  1,111,197 subscribers had utilized the service.  So far, the EVC/CEO of the NCC explained, Telecoms Consumer Parliament  (TCP)  had held 88 times, while the complementary Consumer Outreach Programme (COP)  had held 110 times.

The EVC/CEO also said his Commission established a  web portal– an alternative online channel for lodging complaints, accessed via  adding  the NCC authorized issuance of direction to service providers on data roll over  which enabled consumers to  roll over unused data for period of time ranging from 1 -7 days depending on data plan.

The virtual forum was graced by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Pantami,  EVC/CEO, NCC, Prof. Danbata, Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi

ATCON NEC Member,  ATCON CEOs, Representatives of Consumer Organizations, other professional bodies,  Captains of Industry, and the ICT Press, among other.

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