The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is on the verge of concluding the harmonisation of short codes being used in the country to simplify usage by telecoms consumers by value-added services (VAS) providers.
Head of Fixed Network at NCC, Engr. Tony Ikemefuna, who disclosed this at the second stakeholders’ forum on Value Added Services, said the harmonisation was also to sanitise the short code system and ensure that those used for similar services were also similar.
According to him, under the new system code, airtime balance would be same for all the networks, likewise for data balance and other services.
He added that current codes being used by the telcos would run concurrently with the new codes for 12 months and 12 months for VAS providers, after which the old would be phased out.
Speaking on behalf of the VAS providers, the national coordinator of Wireless Applications Service Providers Association of Nigeria (WASPAN), Mr Chijioke Eze, said the harmonisation would help sanitise the use of numbers in the sector.
“The good thing is that we have enough time for the harmonisation and the eventual take off of the new code, which is also make the subscribers understand that a particular set of numbers are used for particular services,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commission said there was no going back on its ban of auto-renewal of telecoms services, which include VAS. This came on the heel of appeals by the VAS providers who claimed that their businesses have crumbled as a result of the ban.
Speaking at the forum, NCC’s director of enforcement and compliance monitoring, Mr Efosa Idehen, said ongoing investigations across the networks had shown rampant cases of forceful subscriptions.
According to him, many subscribers were being charged for services they never subscribed and that was because they were able to auto-renew such services.
He however, admitted that the audit also showed some VAS providers doing their legitimate businesses on the networks without subscribing for people forcefully.