NCC Bans Open Registration of SIM cards, to Review Call Tariffs

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has placed a ban on open registration of SIM cards. The Daily post reports that the decision was made known by the Head of Enforcement Unit of the NCC, Salisu Abdu, in his address to journalists, yesterday, after three persons found registering SIM cards in open places in Abuja were apprehended by the unit.

According to Abdu, going forward, “SIM registration should only be done in a controlled environment- a permanent building with logos and structures of the operators in place – with identities of the agents doing the registration”.

He also noted that the commission came up with the policy in order to be able to trace where SIM cards were registered to stem the tide of rising crimes, especially kidnapping and militancy, and that a fine of 5 million Naira would be slammed on any dealer or operator who goes against the directive.

The implication of this directive is that fewer SIM registration centres will be open for Nigerians to register their SIM cards. This does not necessarily guarantee the eradication of the instances of fake/incomplete registration details nor stem the tide of vices in the country as both incidences are not direct products of the size of a SIM registration centre.

Technology experts have noted that the menace of fake/incomplete registration details could be better addressed by harmonizing the numerous databases of citizens in the country and the introduction of instant verification devices at registration points.

Meanwhile, The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has indicated its decision to commence a review of the Mobile Voice termination rate in the telecom sector. This was made known by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Dambatta, while Speaking at the stakeholders’ forum on cost based study in Abuja. According to him, the Commission deemed it necessary to review the rate set in 2013 in view of the current market realities.

The EVC said the scale of changes will inevitably affect the unit cost of providing services including interconnection and may lead to differences between regulated interconnection rates. This may spell higher tariffs in the coming days. We hope that the NCC has learned its lessons from the recent #Datahike revolt. This may not be the best time to increase the burden of the weary masses.

David Afolayan

Tech Enthusiast/ Writer/ Content & Digital Communications Strategist/ Photographer/ Researcher

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