The Senate has summoned the Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the spike in the rate of dropped calls.
The NCC management will also face questions over the lack of proper management of SIM card registration.
Call dropping is caused by a technical error within the system which causes interruption of calls.
The summon followed a motion moved by Buhari Fatai and 20 others. It was titled: A motion on the increasing rate of dropped calls and other unwholesome practices by telecommunications network operators in Nigeria.
While moving the motion, Buhari accused the network providers of using the dropped calls to defraud users. He added that subscribers are charged for calls despite not getting value for it.
“Operators also have an unfair advantage with dropped calls from per-minute users. Callers end up paying for an entire minute if a call drops in between, especially within the first few seconds.
“Despite the warning issued by the NCC to telecom operators using the dropped call mechanism to defraud Nigerians by deducting money from phone users illegally, no serious penalty has been issued against any operator to date,” he said.
The Senators also blamed the NCC for failing to regulate the activities of the service providers. Further, it accused the Commission of failing to invoke the necessary sanctions against this unwholesome practice.
Speaking on the motion, Abba Moro said that the network providers are not to be blamed. Instead, he laid the blame squarely on the regulators.
“Because the regulatory agencies are not doing enough, dropped calls have become a problem. In addition to sanctioning network providers, our regulatory agencies must also be held responsible,” he said.
In his response, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan bemoaned the way Nigerians are treated by telcos.
Moreover, he cited cable television company DSTV, promising that there will be a probe soon.
“This time will be different. We pay through our noses and we are unjustifiably treated by these network providers. Everybody comes here and treats us differently.
“The DSTV and others do almost the same thing. At the appropriate time, we will have a public hearing.
“The NCC and other relevant agencies will be put to test. We feel they are inefficient and they are not doing enough. We are going to bark and bite this time around. If it requires blacklisting the operators, we will do that,” he said.
The Senate urged the NCC to protect consumers where necessary and to refund them for disrupted calls caused by network issues.
It also asked the commission to allow users to have more control over the usage of their data bundles.
It also directed the NCC and other relevant agencies to carry out a thorough investigation of the causes of dropped calls in the GSM network and come up with innovations that will improve customer experience.