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NCC to Punish Telcos over Pre- Registered Sim Cards

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Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has ordered mobile telecommunications firms to block pre-registered sim cards, believed to be what criminals, especially kidnappers, armed robbers and fraudsters are using to perpetuate crime across the country.

Ismail Adedigba, NCC deputy director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, also warned that severe punishment awaits any provider whose network is still carrying pre-registered sim card

Adedigba, who chaired the commission’s 87th consumer outreach in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, frowned at complaints about the existence of pre-registered sim cards insisting that ”I expected to hear that all sim cards are registered. But I have issues with Service Providers here, how did we get these pre-registered Sims to start with?

“I think your networks should have the total number of available lines and the total number of subscribers in your database, and as such you should be able to know which Sims age registered and those that are not registered and automatically deactivate those that are pre-registered and those that are not properly registered.

“But a situation where are still having pre-registered sim cards with the advancement in technology today, is a surprise to me, and note that a severe punishment awaits any provider whose network is still carrying pre-registered sim cards.”

The Deputy Director also urged the service providers to step up their services to save some of the frustrations their consumers ate going through because of poor service delivery.

According to him, there is presently no known cancer case or any other health challenge traceable to telecommunication masts and asked the public to save themself the fear that the electro magnate radiation from the network equipment causes skin cancer or any other type of disease.

He said: “As a today, there is no health implication, according to the World Health Organization(WHO). So there is no health research and well-known health implication of mast as at today. You should not prevent the service provider from deploying masts. The more masts we have, the better quality service we have.

“At the NCC, we believe consumer is the king in the palace market. Therefore, the consumer must accord basic rights such as rights to be heard, right to be educated, right to redress as well as right to safety.”

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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Telecom

Angry Reps Threaten to Arrest Bello-Osagie, Airtel Boss

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Hakeem Bello-Osagie, chairman of the defunct Etisalat Nigeria

Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer & managing director, Airtel Nigeria

House of Representatives adhoc committee investigating the operational activities of telecoms operators panel Thursday threatened to issue an arrest warrant against Hakeem Bello-Osagie, chairman of the defunct Etisalat Nigeria, as well as Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer & managing director, Airtel Nigeria for shunning the panel’s summons.

 

According to the Hon. Ahmed Abu- headed committee, Bello-Osagie and the Airtel CEO refused to honour the invitations by the panel to answer questions on alleged tax evasion by Airtel and former Etisalat

 

Abu while speaking at the National Assembly during a public hearing Thursday described the behaviour of the two men as unacceptable adding that an arrest warrant would be issued against them should they fail to appear on the next invitation.

 

His words: “It’s important that your MD is here. Public interest overrides any other interest. We don’t want anybody to play this card to say people will lose their jobs. Nigerian workers are ultimate.

 

“It’s only in Nigeria where what happened in the transition between Etisalat and 9Mobile will happen. We looked into the books, and the balances are annoying. You must bring Bello-Osagie here, else we’ll issue arrest warrant against him.

 

He said while speaking on the Airtel CEO:  “when next we do a letter to the CEO of Airtel and he doesn’t turn up, we’ll issue an arrest warrant against him.”

 

However, because he was in a meeting at the Presidential villa, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler could not appear before the lawmakers hence the spect of 5 percent Value Added Tax  charges on sales of recharge cards could not be treated.

 

Meanwhile, another ad-hoc panel of the House which is probing the various intervention funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has summoned the Managing Director of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Kuru.

 

At the same committee hearing, the Director General of the Nigeria Lottery Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila said that while approximately 295 licensed Value-added Service (VAS) providers have generated about N80 billion revenues across the four operators within the past 4 years , MTN alone is grossing about 50 percent of the entire revenue

 

He said it is therefore evident that there is need for the revenue sharing formula between Mobile Network Operators and Value-added Service (VAS)/Digtal content and  Mobile- based lottery providers be reviewed upwards in favour of the VAS providers.

 

Gbajabiamila, said the sharing formulae should now be 60- 40 in favour of the VAS providers.

 

“VAS partners are largely responsible for running lottery/promo services in behalf of the operators. As these initiatives are very resource consuming, it is important that any partner looking to engage in it is well prepared in terms of funding and planning of their expectations and returns.

 

” The resources and creativity the continues to be applied to VAS and digital content generation are the key components to the success of the industries..

 

“Over the years, collaborations between MNOs and the VAS partners have seen revenue share continue to take a fall from 60 to 30 percent on the average, to as low as 15 percent to VAS providers in some cases.”

 

He said previously, VAS partners who held licenses from the Lottery Regulatory Commission were guided by certain sets of provisional rules which are easily applied according to the type and scale of promo offering being proposed..

 

But that the guideline seems to be varying in ways that VAS partners are struggling to comply with. “And this is the basis of the presentation of our position to this honorable assembly.”

 

Gbajabiamila said the current lottery ACT 2005 seems to address mostly main stream lottery services, usually based in ticket sales and returns.

 

While citing, sections 20, 24, 35 and 57 of the Act he said a minimum of 50 percent of the proceeds of the National Lottery is to be paid to a prize fund, which is dedicated to the payment of prizes.

 

He however said that approximately 295 licensed VAS providers have generated about N80 billion revenues across the four operators within the past 4 years “of which MTN is grossing about 50 percent of the entire revenue.”

 

Members of the committee agreed that there is need to upgrade the share of the VAS providers adding that the Mobile Network Operators are obviously not treating the VAS providers fairly.

 

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Bharti Airtel, Tigo Merge to form AirtelTigo

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Bharti Airtel has merged with Millicom’s Tigo in Ghana to become the country’s second largest mobile operator, the new company AirtelTigo said yesterday.

The merger, the first of its kind in Ghana, is a bid to increase share in the West African country where mobile phone use is one of the highest in Africa and competition for 37.4 million mobile phone users is fierce.

South Africa’s MTN dominates with 47.5 percent of subscribers. Others include Britain’s Vodafone, Globacom of Nigeria and Sudan’s Sudatel Expresso.

The National Communications Authority regulator granted conditional approval for the merger in September, following an agreement in March by the two companies to combine their operations. .

AirtelTigo will serve around 10 million subscribers with revenues close to $300 million, it said in a statement.

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Yola Hosts USPF North East Zonal Stakeholder Workshop on ICT Utilisation and Sustainability

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The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) secretariat, recently held the North East Zonal stakeholder engagement workshop in Yola

 

Universal Service Provision Fund a department of NCC created under the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 to support the provision of ICT services in un-served and under-served areas of Nigeria.

 

The USPF in keeping with the reigning paradigm of development and sustainability, particularly the importance of an all-inclusive engagement and collaborative partnership, convened the workshop to enable all stakeholders to discuss and evolve ways of ensuring the growth and sustainability of Community Resource Centres (CRCs), School Knowledge Centres and other similar projects and programmes facilitated by the Fund.

 

The Secretariat is convinced that it is through appropriate utilisation of these projects in a sustainable manner that will bolster the economy of the beneficiaries and communties, and accelerate social development especially in terms of qualitative and equitable education; effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare systems; improved access to markets and information for the small-scale farmers; and for neighbourhood crisis and disaster prevention and management.

 

Participants at the workshop were government officials, community leaders, development enthusiasts and journalists.

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