- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has identified technical and non-technical factors that contribute to data depletion for telecommunications subscribers in the country.
- Technical factors include default video play on browsers, automatic app updates, and high-quality video formats due to migration to 4G.
- Non-technical factors include low purchasing power leading to small data bundles, social media growth, lack of awareness, sub-standard devices, and data bundle expiration.
- The NCC organized the 91st Telecoms Consumer Parliament to discuss data depletion and its impact on consumers and the industry, inviting industry players to identify possible causes and find a way forward.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that issue of data depletion being experienced by telecommunications subscribers is attributable to several factors, which can be categorized as technical and non-technical.
The Commission’s Director of Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Engr. Edoyemi Ogoh, who gave the explanation during the 91st Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) organized by the Commission, said technically, most browsers play videos by default even when the user only opened a site to read text.
He also cited automatic updates of apps and automatic uploads of videos and pictures to the cloud on smartphones as other factors that drain data quietly. Other technical factors, according to him, include the increase in internet speed due to migration to 4G, which automatically plays video in high-quality formats, thus consuming more data.
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
Data Depletion occurs when a subscriber exhausts his or her data bundle before the expiration date or when more than volume is utilised for accessing online content greater than what the subscriber believes it should be or what it ought to be.
Increasing complaints: Speaking earlier, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, s data depletion was one of the most prevalent complaints received from telecom consumers in the country. He noted that most of the complaints come as a result of the consumers’ recent migration to 4G/LTE technology.
- “It is, therefore, important that we completely appreciate 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.” It was organized by the NCC to understand the various perspectives on the prevalent issue, identify the possible causes, and brainstorm on the way forward.
This move is well appreciated. Waiting for the way forward from Telecom industries and NCC. Thanks, God bless.
The data duration on some of the network plans are too exploitative. For example on MTN daily plan, there is N200 for 200mb for 3days, and N500 for 2gb for 2days. It doesn’t make sense if not for exploitation for N500 data to have a lower validity period than a N200 data. Each time I buy the N500 data plan I hardly use half of it before expiration, coupled with poor netwok issues which are not compensated. NCC should look into this kind of exploitation.
Most of these errors we know. But buying data in boundles is a scam! We are meant to he buying in speed.
Why not educate the public on how to reduce the high consumption of data, after identifying.
The question I always ask is why should data expire in the first place? Data should be like call balance which you can keep for as long as you like. There should be a rate for data as it is for call and once you subscribe you know how many MB or GB you have and even if it is a year you can exhaust it, it is left for the subscriber. NCC should look into this critically because on many occasions I was forced to subscribe to data due to the fact that the previous subscription will expire.
Very well said Absulsalam.
Yes! The great question is… Why should data expire at all? NCC must look at this as a matter of fact.
You’re absolutely right
I wonder! Its like the baker asking you to finish before a certain time the bread you bought with your own sweat or he takes it back!!! I truly don’t get it. What makes the telecom business such a unique and powerful one here in Nigeria?
These should be the best solution to look into,
Does it mean as we are upgrading to 5G anytime soon ,we shall be faced with more money to be paid for services we are never enjoying which is marred with high tariffs.
You Also talked about the way forward ,but never tell us anything about the way forward.
This problem had been biting hard on the consumer since early last year with no cogent explanation from the service providers. How on Earth will 3000 naira data plan of 10G finishes in less than 10days .
This information from BCC is mind blowing it makes we the users understand what has been happening to our data.
MY concern is what would NCC be doing about it please.
Lies from corrupt liars who have obviously collected money to further market the inadequacies of the telecom firms.
Such incredibly dumb reasons to state as factors affecting data depletion. So 1k5 data meant to last a month finishes in less than a week as if its call credit, due to all these dumb excuses? Mstcheeeeeeeeeeewwwwww 🙄🙄
Thank you for making this observation. Those reasons and excuses are not tenable. It suggests that the people alluding to those factors do not have enough experience and have not done comparative analysis across borders. NCC is defending the indefensible. I have bought data bundles in other countries like UK, US and UAE and used them for weeks and the data bundles don’t deplete as fast as it does in Nigeria. In fact, using the same device and working from home from those locations, I can conclusively state that 50GB data bundle in Nigeria deplete 2 times faster than using 50GB data bundle of Vodafone in UK, and Verizon and T-Mobile in US. Let the truth be told, NCC should do proper calibrations.
MTN is the worse of them all in stealing data from the phone 📱
Looking into this, data should be like a call card, I see no reason someone will use huge amount of money to buy data then at the end of the month they will send a message to one that your data subscription will expire in so so day which is proper and they person will lose is money. Pls this issue should be amend thanks
Please NCC should look into this case. We are spending heavily just bcos we want to have access to internet.
Data???,I don’t know what’s called data purchase until I came back to Nigeria,
In the US,we buy phones,pay monthly service charges,ranging from service provider to another service provider,even as low as $20,then you start to use the internet and make free local calls,you pay only when you wanna make international calls,but here we are in Nigeria with corrupt politicians collecting money on our heads and NCC or whatever you’re calling them subjecting we citizens into unnecessary hardships,BUYING OF DATA ???,SCAMMING OF THE HIGHEST ORDER.
God will deliver us from the hands of corrupt and greedy leaders.
We should be buying speed not data volume look at the develop world’s now even south Africa enjoy mtn better than we do….
I think the major problem is the tariff. The NCC should try and do something about the tariff as well as the expiration of data.
Everybody brings there business here in Nigeria to defraud citizen because our regulators don’t or doesn’t want to do there jobs. I buy credit and also buys data ? Why can’t the data be for free?
I bought 1.5GB data plan from Airtel by 12noon and by 7pm my data was stolen I reported by sending mail and called there customer service but to my greatest surprise no response from them. This is over a week now. I have evidence if truly NCC are regulators.
Good bless Nigeria and make us better
They are all scammer, they know what they are doing, I suspect they say all these to intimidation the telecommunications industry so they can make them scare and have reason to collect more money from them. If not , while will they identify a problem with even saying single statement on the way forward. Same thing goes to DSTV , you subcribe and it’s expired wether you watch it or not and alot of station given in you package that you don’t even watch. Why can’t you pay for only station you need and make it pay as you go. I can’t understand
This is just another excuse and defending these operators, I have been using 4g for over 2 years now and have always been doing a monthly subscription on MTN which roll over all the time. Now these days, the monthly sub wont even reach 2 weeks before its depleted and you are tagging this to auto download or auto whatever. Nothing as changed on my phone and I dont see why data and calls will be reading as if am been charged twice the use.