Business News of Saturday, 2 July 2016
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has been rewarded for its role in ensuring best practices in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the country.
The award, which included the Best ICT Policy and Regulatory Initiative on billing feedback system, was received at the just-ended Commonwealth ICT & Industry Awards which was organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO).
The Director-General of the Authority, Mr. William Tevie, announced the award when members of the Network of Communications Reporters (NCR), paid a courtesy call on him in Accra.
The purpose of the visit was to congratulate Mr. Tevie on his appointment as the substantive Director-General and also to solicit support to organise a neutral platform on which all players in the industry would make themselves available to discuss issues concerning the highly competitive industry.
Commenting on the awards, Mr. Tevie said the authority was honoured to be presented with the award, (the second major award to be received by the authority this year).
“I would like to commend the players in the industry for their cooperation during the implementation of the project on the billing and every staff member of the authority for the effort they put into ensuring the success of this initiative,” he said.
As part of the authority’s mandate to protect consumers, in 2014, the NCA in consultation with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) implemented a Billing Feedback System for prepaid mobile network subscribers.
This initiative sought to resolve recurring complaints from prepaid subscribers on billing and credit issues, give prepaid consumers instant access to their billing and remove unsubstantiated claims on billing and thereby build trust between the service providers and their customers.
All MNOs (MTN, Vodafone, Airtel, Tigo, Glo and Expresso) then began sending Billing Feedback Messages (BFM) using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), whereby every prepaid subscriber, after every billable transaction, whether voice or data, would receive a message detailing the duration, rate per minute, the cost of the transaction and indicate the credit balance.
For prepaid consumers, they now have instant access to billing after any mobile activity, and the BFM, which is sent as USSDs are not stored on the mobile devices.
The Dean of NCR, Mr. Charles Benoni Okine, for his part, described the award as deserving because of the work the NCA was doing to ensure transparency in the services delivered by the MNOs to their customers.
“It has been a long road but we are finally there and it is gratifying that your work has been recognised,” he said, adding that: “we at NCR hope that this will spur you on to introduce more innovative initiatives that will be of benefit to the industry.”
The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation is the oldest and largest Commonwealth inter-governmental organisation in the field of information and communications technology
Although its history can be traced back to 1901 with the establishment of the Pacific Cable Board, the organisation has only existed in its present form as an inter-governmental treaty organisation from 1967. Membership is made up of developed and least developed countries, small island developing states, and more recently the private sector as well as civil society.
The CTO aims to become a trusted partner in ICT to facilitate sustainable development for all member countries.