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NCC to Tighten Noose on Call Refiling, Masking & Sim-Box Fraud

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(L-r): Michael Hardt, Telecoms Strategy United Kingdom; Miss Funlola Akiode, director licensing and authorization; Miss Josephine Amuwa, director policy competition and economic analysis; Dr. Fidelis Onah, director technical standard and network integrity at the NCC, during stakeholders consultation forum, recently.

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it has zero tolerance for  ‘Communications Fraud’ in the market.

Communications Fraud entails the use of telecommunications products or services with the intention of illegally acquiring money from, or failing to pay, a telecommunication company or its customers.

Speaking at the stakeholders’ forum convened by the Commission to present cost based study for the determination of mobile voice termination rate, Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, said that is working to ensure sanity in the sector, especially with regards consumer products.

A comprehensive report of a seminal study undertaken by PriceWaterhouseCoopers for the telecommunication industry in Nigeria with a thematic focus on cost based determination of mobile voice termination rate, was presented to industry stakeholders at the Nigerian Communications Commission Head Office in Abuja, during the week.

Prof. Danbatta however, solicited assistance, understanding and collaboration to deliver on project objectives.

The EVC remarks delivered by Miss Josephine Amuwa, director policy competition and Economic Analysis at the Commission, called on stakeholders to supply industry statistical data promptly because of its centrality in the determination of appropriate interconnection termination rates.

An impeccable and functional interconnection regime is pivotal to enhancing competition and effective regulation.

The imperative of the project evidently found expression in the exponential growth in the number of subscribers, as well as in the volume of traffic on the networks, which are both shaped by the dynamics of technologies, and the existential realities of the global financial markets. Danbatta told the audience which is quite representative of the diversity of the industry.

Importantly, Danbatta noted that NCC has a duty to ensure that interconnection services are fairly priced, non-discriminatory, and reflect the real cost of providing such services in the market.

The EVC said he was quite pleased that the study will among other benefits provide opportunity to thoroughly examine the emergence of grey market activities in the telecoms industry in Nigeria such as call refiling, call masking, and SIM-Box fraud following the introduction of an interim International Termination Rate (ITR) for inbound international traffic.

Call Refiling, according to Wikipedia, is a form of interconnect fraud in which one carrier tampers with CID (caller-ID) or ANI data to falsify the number from which a call originated before handing the call off to a competitor.

“Refiling and interconnect fraud briefly made headlines in the aftermath of the Worldcom financial troubles; the refiling scheme is based on a quirk in the system by which telcos bill each other – two calls to the same place may incur different costs because of differing displayed origin. A common calculation of payments between telcos calculates the percentage of the total distance over which each telco has carried one call to determine division of toll revenues for that call; refiling distorts data required to make these calculations”.

Call Masking one’s telephone number, on the other hand, is simply having the means to either disguise the telephone number or display it as a different number as is the case for many companies who use what are known as non-geographical numbers, while A SIM box fraud is a setup in which fraudsters install SIM boxes with multiple low-cost prepaid SIM cards.

The fraudster then can terminate international calls through local phone numbers in the respective country to make it appear as if the call is a local call.

Accordingly, the Study’s eleven (11) focus areas include developing measures to reduce or eliminate grey markets in the telecoms industry in Nigeria; evaluation of the subsisting interconnect regime; and to determine if there is need for different termination rate for national/domestic and international traffic.

 

 

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

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(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

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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

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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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