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NCC clamps down on four telecoms firms for illegal operations

By on December 19, 2014

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has clamped down on four telecoms companies for engaging in illegal operations.

The four operators are  Steam Communications, Netcom, SwiftTalk and Multi-dimesnion Technologies all located in Lagos.

The alleged illegal operators were discovered during a four-day enforcement exercise in Lagos recently by the Compliance and Enforcement Unit of NCC, led by an Assistant Director, Mr. Salisu Abdu.

Three more illegal operators are being hunted  by the NCC team with expectation that their identity would be discovered before concluding the four-day exercise in Lagos.

All the seven operators were said to be operating on the 5.4 gigahertz frequency band which was not licensed to them by the Commission.

Addressing media during the enforcement exercise in Lagos, Abdu said the operations of the telecoms firms constitute an offence under Section 122 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, which criminalises any operation without proper licensing by the NCC.

He explained that ‎in 2009, NCC came up with a guideline on the deployment of service on the 5.4Ghz band and warned that no operator should operate on it without obtaining necessary licences from the NCC.

He said: “In the course of enforcing the guideline, we have monitored compliance and we have discovered that we still had some operators operating illegally on the 5.4GHz till 2012. We have done a lot of clean-up and we thought the frequency was free of interferences.”

According to him, “After recent monitoring by the Spectrum Administration Department of NCC, about seven operators were discovered to be operating on the 5.4Ghz band. Recently, we visited Steam Communications Company in Lagos and we found out that they were operating on the 5.4GHz ‎band and as result, we confiscated their radio equipment and they are currently under investigation.”

Abdu said at the end of the investigation, Steam Communications would be prosecuted and fined appropriately.

He  said the enforcement team also discovered that Netcom, Multi-dimension and SwiftTalk, located in Lagos, are collocating their equipment on a telecom mast belonging to a licensed inter- connect clearing operator.
“Currently we have removed the power ‎units, which the three companies were using to power their service. We have asked them to remove the actual radio equipment from the mast which they will hand over to the commission and investigation will be carried out accordingly” he said.
Abdu, however, said the mast owner, which houses the three telecoms firms on its network was not culpable, saying “the mast owner is not any under obligation to make findings on whether or not the three companies were licensed by the NCC or not.”

He said this was because each operator is licensed separately by the regulator with terms and conditions of their licences clearly stated.
Meanwhile, Abdu, who informed that the guideline on 5.4Ghz spectrum band clearly stipulates conditions for commercial and private use of the frequency band, said the enforcement team hoped to track down the other three illegal operators on the 5.4GHz.

He warned licensees in the telecoms sector to always comply with their ‎licensing conditions, stressing that indulging in illegal operations is capable of creating unnecessary interferences in telecoms services delivery which ultimately affect telecoms consumers.