Subscribers are demanding greater data usage transparency from telecom operators.

Some of the subscribers who spoke to The PUNCH expressed discontent over the data offerings by the telcos.

In the first quarter of 2023, MTN Nigeria reported N227.8bn in data revenue, while Airtel Nigeria disclosed N407.1bn in data revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, according to their financial statements.

One of the aggrieved subscribers, Emeka Orji, lamented: “I bought 10GB of MTN data, and it is gone within a week. It is like pouring money down the drain.

“Sometimes, I am surprised at how data gets consumed. I also use Airtel. It is almost the same situation, Orji said.

Another subscriber, Ikenna Okeh, said, “Even after minimising the way I watch videos, my data still does not last the way it should.

However, some of the telcos that spoke to The PUNCH refuted the subscribers’ claims, saying they offered exactly the worth of data service customers subscribed to.

The Public Relations Officer of 9mobile, Chineze Amanfo, in an emailed response, said, “9mobile is a customer-focused telecoms service provider with an array of competitive and affordable data offerings tailored to the needs of our existing and potential customers.

“We also ensure that customers receive accurate and transparent bills, indicating their data usage and associated charges. This allows them to monitor their data consumption and understand what they are being billed for, she said.

A senior official from one of the Nigerian telcos, who spoke off the record, told The PUNCH, “Telecoms are heavily regulated in this country. If you engage in any fraudulent activity targeting consumers, it is quite easy to spot.

“I will be honest; there have been cases involving certain companies within the industry, but I won’t mention names.”

The Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Reuben Muoka, told The PUNCH, “Check your usage. 1G as it was before is what it is today.

“The difference is that you may be running much faster on your data because of an improvement in network quality or you may have been using a lot of apps downloading or uploading without your knowledge.

“You may be making voice and video calls on WhatsApp or downloading huge videos on your phone from multiple groups, etc. That is the difference,” he said.

Another industry insider from the Internet Service Provider sector advised that “It is crucial to keep a close eye on your device’s data usage and, if necessary, don’t hesitate to request a comprehensive explanation from your service provider if you have any suspicions or concerns.”

Telecom expert Olatunde Olatunbosun told The PUNCH, “Data volume provided is accurate and aligns with the communicated terms and conditions, under the strict supervision of the NCC.”

According to the NCC, the issue of data depletion is one of the most prevalent complaints received from telecom consumers.

However, the commission has noted that fast data depletion is due to the advancement and explosion of new technologies.

Recently, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, highlighted that most of the consumers experiencing this issue are on the 4G/LTE network.

He said, “We are gathered to deliberate on the issue of data depletion, which has become one of the most prevalent complaints received from the telecom consumers in the wake of their recent migration to 4G/LTE technology.”

He noted that consumers have been experiencing depletion of their data either because of data usage or consumption.

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