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SIM registration: Mobile operators risk punishment

By on October 20, 2015

The Nigerian Communications Commission will soon announce new sanctions for telecommunications operators who allow preregistered Subscriber Identification Module cards on their networks, investigation has shown.

It was learnt that some mobile operators had allowed preregistered SIMs on their networks contrary to the regulation governing the activation of new SIM cards, which forbids the operators or their agents from selling cards that have been preregistered and ready for use by buyers.

Our correspondent also learnt that warnings handed to the mobile operators had not deterred them from allowing preregistered SIM cards on their networks; thus, the decision to sanction the defaulting operators.

It was not certain as of press time the magnitude of the sanctions to be announced in about one week from now, but the Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had said at the Nigerian International Trade Fair in Abuja on Thursday that any preregistered SIM card would attract a fine of N200,000 per day.

Danbatta, who was represented at the event by the Head of Public Relations of the commission, Mr. Reuben Muoka, had said that for each day that one preregistered card stayed on a network, the operator was liable to the payment of N200,000 going by a new regulation introduced by the NCC.

He said, “Our concern is still on the issue of preregistered SIM cards. Our monitoring activities have revealed in some locations across the country that some people are still patronising agents selling preregistered SIM cards. The commission pleads with those selling or using preregistered cards to desist from such fraudulent acts.

“We have on several occasions informed subscribers that it is dangerous to use phone lines that do not bear your identity because it may have been registered by a criminal. On the other hand, you should not give out your identity to be used by somebody who you do not know. Therefore, you need to keep your phones secure at all times.

“The commission is determined to wipe the issue of preregistered SIMs as we have a new set of regulations that will hold the service providers liable to the tune of N200,000 for any preregistered SIM card found in any part of the country.

“Our monitoring unit is going round the country to ensure that all cases of preregistered SIM cards are reported. The commission will not hesitate to sanction any operator whose SIM cards are found to be preregistered in the network.”

The NCC boss also solicited the patience of subscribers as the regulatory agency sought solution to the menace of unsolicited text messages.

According to Danbatta, the agency has issued a directive to mobile operators in the country to find ways of filtering unsolicited messages that hit the phones of mobile subscribers, and also provide them with options for opting out of unwanted messages.