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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

No prepaid card operator licensed as ISP – Regulator

Remmy Nweke

Telecommunications regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), has said there is no prepaid calling card operator that has the license to operate as Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Chief regulator, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, made this clarification in a media parley in Lagos, recently, even as he said, prepaid card operators are currently under NCC searchlight.

“No prepaid calling card operators are licensed to operate as ISP,” he asserted.

He also warned that any one doing that would not be allowed by the regulatory body.

Reacting to the recent meeting his office had with some of the operators in Lagos, he said, those invited for that specific meeting, were actually being investigated.

The on-going investigations, he said, was precipitated due to enormous complaints from consumers in recent times.

“So, anybody who has prepaid calling card license, we want to know, what state are they in, are they operating and what kind of services are they giving?” he said.

Further, Dr. Ndukwe said that the commission would like to know if any of them is among those jeopardizing the just privatized first national operator, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL).

“Are they one of those cheating NITEL and doing things at the backdoor,” he declared.

NCC, he insisted, do not want people to be ripped off when the card does not work.

Equally, NCC, he said, is working on a new guideline which would include that, calling card operators must publish their addresses and phone numbers on the cards they are selling.

“So that if any subscriber has a problem, he would know where to go for complaints,” he said.

Pointing out that some of them are operating the card businesses with different names from what was used to obtain their licenses.

“Therefore, we want to also trace all that and ensure that the right people are doing the right thing,” he reassured.


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