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By NBF News
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Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah

In a move aimed at curbing subscriber complaints over billing irregularities, the Nigerian Communications Commission has mandated all telecoms operators to provide free instant Short Message Service to all phone users detailing the cost of each call and available balances to the subscriber at the end of every call from today (Thursday).

A statement made available to our correspondent on Wednesday by the Head, Media and Public Relations, NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, stated that any operator that failed to commence the service to its subscribers would be liable to a fine of N5m and a further N500,000 per day as long as the contravention persisted.

Muoka said, 'The commission had in a directive issued since August 2012, mandated that from November 1, 2012, all mobile operators shall send, free of charge, a message or an alert to both post-paid and prepaid subscribers after every call, SMS, or system generated charge or tariff, with a proviso that a subscriber can opt out if he or she so wishes.

'The directive mandates the service providers to send messages containing six critical information including: exact duration of the call minutes and seconds; total cost for each call or SMS; customer accounts balance after the last call for prepaid and SMS; customer account balance after a charge or tariff and the reason for the charge or tariff; cumulative call charges up to the last call within the charging period for post-paid customers; and cost of services and credit balance upon request by customer for data service.'

He said the directive was in line with the provisions of Section 53(1) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and was a response to one of the major concerns of the subscribers as it related to the actual amounts deducted from their credit balances by the service providers for each call or SMS sent.

'With this directive, subscribers are empowered to promptly discover any anomaly in their bills, and will be able to prove if they are billed for calls that they did not make,' he said.