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Thursday, December 15, 2005

NATCOMS battle ready with AMOPHTI, lauds MTN, Vmobile

National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) has resolved to fight the increasing mobile phone theft in the country with a new scheme, called Anti-Mobile Phone Theft Initiative (AMOPHTI).

The association also lauded MTN Nigeria and Vmobile Nigeria for the recent introduction of N100 and N200 virtual charge system.

National President of NATCOMS, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, disclosed this at the joint October, November and December sitting of the Telecom Consumers Parliament held in Lagos.

He said that since the introduction of commercial operations of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) products and services in the country in 2001, which eventually turned out to be the fastest growing mobile communications market in the world, that theft of mobile phones, have constituted a big problem for the subscribers.

“Regularly, thieves steal and rob subscribers of their mobile
phones,” he decried.

Chief Ogunbanjo estimated that mobile phones are involved in about 80 per cent of robbery cases in the country as of today, of which in some cases lives have been lost.

It was against that backdrop that NATCOMS has volunteered to consult with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the GSM service operators on the new scheme, AMOPHTI.

He explained that the initiative would not only try to control and eventually stop the stealing of mobile phones, “it would also make the stealing of mobile phones worthless and unattractive to the thieves”.

The NATCOMS president also said that the scheme would ensure that 100 per cent cost of the stolen mobile phone is given to the owner.

Other complaints NATCOMS took to the floor of the parliament includes the call on all GSM operators to rescind from recent increases in tariffs and related cost of other products and services.

He said, this step has dealt a very, very serious blow to consumerism in the country and all telecom subscribers to the extent that it is done with impunity without any reason or explanation to consumers.

“What is the justification of any increase in tariffs when the
subscriber base of the four GSM operators keep increasing by the day. From about 1 million in 2001 to the phenomenal growth of over 10 million in 2005,” he questioned.

He argued that if the operators are getting the volume as it were, why not the subscribers, stressing that consumers should also get the value and pocket-friendly tariffs.

Warning that in no distance time, subscribers and consumers of GSM
services in the country particularly, would be reacting against these
unfriendly, pocket-leaking and anti-consumer tariffs early next
year.

NATCOMS also lauded MTN Nigeria and Vmobile Nigeria for the recent introduction of N100 and N200 virtual charge system, just as it expressed dismay over the access or validity days, saying that the least is too short.

“We would appreciate a one week validity period for the minimum of V-charge,” Chief Ogunbanjo asserted as he wished parliamentarians a merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

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