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Counterfeiters Now Control 10% Phone Market Share in Nigeria



fake phones.jpg

Fake phone manufacturers and importers seem to be having upper hand in the current battle with such products’ regulators in Nigeria, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can report.

According to an impeccable source in the phone manufacturing business, counterfeiters might have taken over more than ten per cent (10%) of the market share, and glaringly displaying the products at different areas like Computer Village- Ikeja and other hinterlands.

“It is affecting a whole lot of things in this market. We hear of people complain about Poor Quality of Network Service (QoS), the activities of these phone fakers contribute a lot to that. So, users of such phones are losers, government is losing revenue, we are losing the market too as original equipment manufacturers and spells doom for the market.

“These guys used to occupy about five per cent of the market, but I can authoritatively tell you that they have gone beyond ten per cent of the market share,” the source who prefers anonymity told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek.

ATCON Had Alerted Constituted Authorities
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek had in October 1, 2016 exclusively reported the discovery by the Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ATCON), which called for urgent measures to curb the increasing rate of dumping fake mobile phones in the country.

Mr. Olusola Teniola, ATCON said that that investigations revealed more than twenty (20) mobile phone brands in the country are not NCC type-approved and contribute significantly to the persistent poor quality of service‎ (QoS).

Although, names of the phone brands are yet to be made public, however, Teniola said that the unregistered/unapproved brands have over one hundred and fifty (150) mobile phone models circulating in Nigeria.

He said that the Association believes more stringent measures should be taken to curb the counterfeiting of mobile phones in the country.

Meanwhile, fresh facts emerged recently, showing that the fakers copy 100% of top phone brands in the market, selling same to end-users as the original.

Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Arrest Alleged Fakers
It could be recalled that in January 2017, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), working with other law enforcement agencies arrested two Chinese nationals over increasing complaints about fake and substandard phones imported into Nigeria.

The Chinese, according to Osita Aboloma, director general of SON, imported fake and substandard mobile phones into the country.

Aboloma, who was represented by Bede Obayi, director Compliance of SON, during a recent enforcement exercise in Lagos by SON, said the Agency has continued to receive numerous complaints about KZG phones from unsuspecting consumers in the country.

Aboloma said “We have information on the activities of these Chinese people who are operating this KZG mobile here in Ikeja Lagos that people are complaining about the quality of their products and SON has to ensure that the quality of products sold in Nigeria is in compliance with the Nigeria industrial standards.

“Their attitude show that they know what they are doing here and they are not ready to talk, they are not ready to give us information about what they are doing here and their major warehouses. Based on the information we have gathered and what we found on ground in the office and the documentation of importation indicates that he is one of the leading suppliers of sub-standard phones in Nigeria,” Obayi said.‎

Fakers Attack Original OEMs
But, our Source at Computer Village, Ikeja, revealed how SON’s clamp down on fakers attracted their (fakers’) wraths on original OEMs. “In fact, when SON concluded the raid here in Computer Village, the fake phone manufacturers were furious and went ahead to invade shops and offices of some the original OEMs whom they believed were the whistleblowers. Staff of the original OEMs were quite traumatized by the incident.

Speaking to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek on the worrying situation, Mr. Teniola said, “We plead with ‎Government to put in place anti-counterfeiting measures such as the facilitation of integrated Web portal based IMEI-IMSI collection to stem the menace of substandard or unregistered mobile phones circulating in Nigeria with obvious consequences of poor quality of service, loss of revenue to the government, loss of business by OEMs‎ and loss of jobs as well as in revenue to the Nigeria mobile market.

“For instance, we have more than twenty mobile phone brands that do not have NCC type approved certificate to operate in Nigeria. This unregistered/unapproved brands have over one hundred and fifty mobile phone models circulating in Nigeria”.

He added that the Association observed 10% of fake mobile phones products of some of the popular mobile phone brands circulating in Nigeria.

According to Mr. Austin Eze, a phone technician, “an average phone user in the market requires education to distinguish original from fake phones. “Yes. For the fact there are fake phones in the market implies there are originals too. What the manufacturers should be focusing on is educating the customers”.

CAPDAN Confirms The Situation
Mr Ahmed Ojikutu, president of Computer and Allied Product Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) while reacting to the situation told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek confirmed that the activities of the fakers are threats to OEMs.

Mr Ojikutu, however, said that his administration is completely against the illegalities, while pleading with relevant authorities to partner them in tackling the unsavory situation.

He said that, as part of CAPDAN’s commitment to tacking fake and substandard devices, they are launching a toll-free line that will be available to those patronizing the market. 

The CAPDAN President spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, “Our administration is absolutely 150% against substandard and counterfeit products. We are trying to make sure that anybody that has complaint relating to buying counterfeit product or not exactly what you paid for, we will make sure that such is addressed at our own level. We will make sure the seller in questions provides what the buyer paid for at the point of the transaction. Be that at it may, if the complaint didn’t get to us, we wouldn’t know how to resolve the issue. In a case where the seller refuses to yield to our calls, we hand him over to the police; that is what we have been doing.

“We are also going to launch a campaign with a free-toll line. We are going to display it anywhere for people to call-in and lodge complaints. As they call in possibly during the working hours, we give them reference number to follow up on them. This is for every buyer at Computer Village (CV) to be assured of buying genuine products.

“Already, we have set up an arbitration and disciplinary committee that headed by reputable people in the market. Most of the time, we refer issues to the Committee”.

Involvement of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
He further sought more commitment of OEMs in the fight against the unwholesome products in the market. Mr. Ojikutu said, “The Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are supposed to work closely with us, because most times, we are the people on ground. Though we are not law enforcement, but the owners, the direct beneficiaries of these interventions, ought to work closer with us. With the joint efforts, the people counterfeiting their products will be apprehended and handed over to the police; that is the way forward, because when the counterfeiters are caught who is going to pay the legal charges? If they really sit with us we will get results”.   



Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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NCC: US Delegation‎ Visits Commission, Lauds Regulatory Strides



(L-R): Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC; Rachel Atwood Mendiola, Manager, U.S Embassy; Engr. Ubale Ahmed Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC; Mudari Aliyu Dura


Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, Thursday, received a delegation from the United States Embassy in Abuja,

The team, led by Rachel Atwood Mendiola, Fraud Prevention Manager, United States Embassy, was received by the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive, Prof. Umar Danbatta and other top Management staff of the Commission.

The delegation was at the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Head Office to gain insight into the workings of the Commission and to commend NCC’s Management for its regulatory strides in sustaining the growth of the telecommunication industry in Nigeria.


Prof.Danbatta while addressing the delegation, recalled to the admiration of his guests some of the Commission’s efforts in ensuring effective regulation of the telecoms sector and providing an enabling environment for telecoms services to flourish, exponentially attributing the Commission’s successes to the faith reposed on it by the consumers and their unflinching loyalty.


And that is, the reason the Commission commits itself irrevocably to protecting the interest of consumers and all stakeholders in the industry.

He told his guests that, “NCC continues to be a strategic member and active participant in the activities of many bodies including the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), African Telecommunications Union (ATU), and the West Africa Telecommunication Regulators Assembly (WATRA).”

To demonstrate the resilience of the telecommunication sector even in the face of challenging economic climate, Danbatta stayed that the sector contributed about 9.5% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter of 2017 and credited the Nigerian telecom consumers with the successes recorded because of their patronage.

The EVC/CEO of NCC said it is the faith the consumers have demonstrated in the sector that made the Management of the Commission to declare the 2017 as the Year of the Telecom Consumer to celebrate the primacy of the consumer and to rededicate itself to addressing the challenges of the consumer.

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NCC Ignores Telcos, Says No to OTT Regulation



Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman

Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] has said it can’t regulate Over The Top Technology [OTT] for now, refusing the telecom operators’ call that the technology be regulated in the country.


OTT operators are firms like Facebook, WhatsApp, 2go, Instagram and others who ride on social media to reach their audience.


Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman disclosed this Thursday when a delegation from the United States [US] embassy paid a working visit to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.


‘’ The operators are saying we should do something about the OTT. That the OTT is riding on their infrastructure to make money and all other. But it will be very difficult to regulate OTT,” Prof Danbatta said.


According to him, though NCC understands the operators’ plight ‘’ the truth is that there is nothing we can do for now’’.


The NCC EVC, said he had interacted with head of telecom industry’s regulatory agencies in US and some other advanced economies and he was indirectly told that OTT couldn’t be regulated for now.


He also said NCC couldn’t regulate content in the social media as this falls within the jurisdiction of its sister regulatory agency, the National Broadcasting Commission [NBC].


He also told the US embassy delegation which was led by Rachael Atwood Mendiola to convince US investors to come and invest in Nigeria’s telecom industry as this is the best time to stake their money in the country.


‘’We want investors to come and invest in telecoms infrastructure across the country. I believe they will make their money in no time. Our investment environment is becoming friendlier, our security has improved greatly and the Federal Government had promised some number of incentives for would-be investors.


‘’ Plus we still have access gap. We still have about 200 locations across the country yet to have telecom services. This has cut off about 40million people, including people in my local government in Kano. So, investors can come in and take this opportunities.’’, he said.


But he said the NCC was working to see the access gaps blocked in the next two years.

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Nigeria to Increase Mobile Broadband Subscriptions to 50% by 2020



NCC headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria

By peter oluka

Nigeria has disclosed plans to increasing the current coverage of the active mobile broadband subscription per 100 from 20.95 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.

This was disclosed by Mr Bolaji Akinremi, minister plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, while delivering Nigeria’s statement on ‘Information and Communications Technologies for Development’ at the UN General Assembly’s debate in New York.

Active mobile broadband subscription is the number of subscriptions to mobile cellular networks with access to data communications – like the Internet – at broadband downstream speeds of 256 kilobit per second.

Nigeria’s mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased from 1.0 inhabitant in 2012 to 11.7 inhabitants in 2016.

Akinremi said Nigeria recognised the direct impact of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) on the wellbeing of Nigerians.

“The Government of Nigeria recognises the reality that Information and Communications Technologies has direct impact on the nation’s ability to improve the economic wellbeing of its people.

“The Government of Nigeria is committed to facilitating universal availability and cost-effective access to communications infrastructure and promoting utilisation of ICT in all spheres of life.

“Nigeria is committed to achieving cutting-edge global ICT standards, encourage rapid ICT penetration among all socio-economic levels.

“The Government of Nigeria is also committed to increasing the current coverage of the active mobile broadband subscription per 100 from 20.95 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.

“Nigeria is committed to promoting and encouraging local production of ICT hard and software so as to reduce import dependence and generate foreign exchange by exporting to the regional and continental markets”.

He said that involving developing countries in the ICT revolution would bridge the wide gap of access to information among people.

According to him, if the information gap keeps widening, the possibility of attaining sustainable development by 2030 is not certain.

“It is in this vein that Nigeria further calls on Member States to consider giving Information and Communications Technologies a pride of place in the education curriculum. By so doing, they will undoubted bridge the digital divide,” Akinremi added.

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