Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Operators keen on SIM registration

•As NCC slashes interconnect rates

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators in the country are keen on the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) as recently directed by the industry regulatory, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The regulator had recently outlined conditions for the registration of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards which takes effect from March 1, this year, even as it slashed interconnection rates with Short Message Service (SMS) now N1.94 as from December 31, 2009.

The operators keenness over the SIM registration based on the stipulated guidelines, was disclosed by the Head, Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations at Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Oparah, operators are collaborating with NCC to make certain the success of the guideline.

“We are working with other operators in collaboration with NCC to ensure it is implemented with little or no challenges for subscribers in the country,” he told our correspondent.

According to the Head, Media and Public Relations at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, it is expected that by March 1 this year all new SIM cards must be registered before activation in the country.

NCC, he noted, is exercising its regulatory functions as provided for by the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) of 2003.

He also said that arrangements have been concluded for the commencement of registration of all SIM card holders nationwide, noting that valid identification documents would be required for those seeking registration of their SIM cards.

These, he listed to include the electronic passport (e- Passports), corporate company or work place identity cards that has pension identification or tax numbers; student identification cards from recognized institutions, drivers license issued by the Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC) and electronic tax (e-Tax) cards.Muoka quoted the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, as saying that the registration process would include the capture of the photograph and biometrics of the subscriber.

“Proxy registration shall be restricted to the direct families of persons seeking registration,” he said. Therefore, he said, the Commission has directed all telecom operating companies to put all necessary arrangements in place for the smooth take off of the exercise. He advised that in the case of existing SIM card holders, necessary processes and procedures are currently being put in place to guarantee a smooth registration exercise.

“The general public and all relevant stakeholders will be notified in due course about the timing and how to proceed,” he said. In a related development, NCC has slashed interconnection rates with Short Message Service (SMS) now N1.94 as from December 31, 2009.

NCC said in Abuja that the new set of interconnection rates for the telecom industry, which effect commenced on December 31, 2009 would replace the earlier ones issued by the Commission in September 2006, which presented many features that represent improvement in the earlier interconnect rates determinations by the Commission.

Mr. Muoka further said that the latest determination applied the Asymmetric Interconnect rate method whereby, new mobile operators enjoy higher termination rates than the older operators as a result of the study that showed that such operators expend higher cost of termination in their networks.

With this development, he said, call terminations on new entrants’ networks are graduated from N10.12 from December 31, 2009 to N8.20 in 2012, while call terminations on older operator’s networks has been fixed at N8.20 over the same period.

Another major feature of the new rates, he pointed out, is the determination of interconnect rates for Short Messaging Services (SMS), for the first time in the country.

“The SMS interconnection rates also featured a glide path whereby, the new entrants enjoy interconnection rates starting from N1.94 from December 31, 2009 to N1.02 in 2012. The other (older) mobile operators will stay on a fixed N1.02 bar over the same period,” Muoka said.

Details of the interconnection rates stipulated that NCC has approved that for mobile voice termination new entrants in Nigeria irrespective of the originating network shall be N10.12 (Ten Naira Twelve Kobo) from 31.12.2009; N9.48 (Nine Naira Forty Eight Kobo) from 31.12.2010; N8.84 (Eight Naira Eighty Four Kobo) from 31.12.2011; and N8.20 (Eight Naira Twenty Kobo) from the 31.12.2012.

For the interconnection rate on voice calls termination provided by other operators in Nigeria irrespective of the originating network, that is, N8.20 (Eight Naira Twenty Kobo) from the 31.12.2009.

On the rate for fixed voice termination in Nigeria irrespective of the originating network, NCC said it would be N10.12 (Ten Naira Twelve Kobo) from 31.12.2009; N 9.48 (Nine Naira Forty Eight Kobo) from 31.12.2010; N 8.84 (Eight Naira Eighty Four Kobo) from 31.12.2011; and N8.20 (Eight Naira Twenty Kobo) from the 31.12.2012.

Details of the SMS termination provided by new entrants in Nigeria irrespective of the originating network, the Commission said is now N1.94 (One Naira Ninety Four Kobo) from the 31.12.2009; and will come down to N1.63 (One Naira Sixty Three Kobo) as from December 31, 2010; further still to N1.32 (One Naira Thirty Two Kobo) by December 31, 2011; while in three years period will be N.1.02 (One Naira Two Kobo).

While the Commission maintained that interconnection rate for SMS termination provided by other operators in Nigeria irrespective of the originating network would be N1.02 (One Naira two kobo) from the 31st of December 2009.

Pointing out that the new interconnect rate determination also prescribed two conditions for qualifying an operator as a new entrant, namely, that the termination service is provided under a license that was allocated after January 1, 2006 and is less than four (4) years old in operation within this domain; and that the provider (or a company bought by the provider) of this termination service did not provide this service in Nigeria before the aforementioned date (01/01/06) under a different license.

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