Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Telecom subscribers lose 1m handsets annually – Expert

Annually, telecommunications subscribers in the country an estimated 1 million mobile phones are reportedly stolen, according to the chief executive officer, NetVisa GSMSecured Nigeria Limited, Prince Emeka Uchendu.

NetVisa was licensed three years by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to put in place the relevant strategies for the implementation of an anti-theft mobile phone initiative in collaboration with the regulator.

Uchendu, who gave this insight last weekend in Lagos, in a chat with newsmen, on the preparation of his firm for the commissioning of the nation’s Central Equipment Identity Registry (CEIR), said that all is set for the official of the registry by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Declaring that registration of stolen phones would be free-of-charge as from February 2009, Prince Uchendu, said that precisely, Nigerians reported in the last eight years of GSM advent, more than 750,000 stolen mobile phones.

“Between 750,000 and 1m are reportedly stolen per year. Each year in Nigeria, more than 750,000 mobile phones are reported lost or stolen,” he asserted.

Stressing that this figure precisely depicts that 1423 mobile phones are lost each week, or “Eight mobile phones are lost every hour.”

He said that several stolen mobile phones were taken from cars, social venues such as restaurants, bars and clubs.

While mobile handsets stolen from cars represented 28 per cent, Uchendu noted that those lost at eatery accounts to 20 per cent, pointing out that a substantial number of thefts occur at the homes of the victims, thus recording nine (9) per cent, whereas workplace witnessed eight (8) per cent.

Also, Prince Uchendu said that most mobile phones reported stolen were on Monday.
“Phone thefts have also been reported in several armed robberies. Most phones are reported as lost or stolen on Monday, suggesting that most phones go missing over the weekend,” he declared.

Explaining that blocking of mobile phones is not limited to GSM handsets alone, but cut across all mobile devices, especially phones.

“All mobile network operators, both GSM and CDMA – Code Division Multiple Access – send a list of phones to be blocked or unblocked each day or in real time and also receive the details of phones to be blocked or unblocked from the other service providers,” he enlightened.

NetVisa, he said, has the facilities to engage the operators once a mobile phone has been reported missing.

“The whole process is facilitated through an Electronic Information Exchange messaging platform hosted and operated by NetVisa Mobile Device Security,” he said.

Further, he said, that Tuesday, January 27, the federal government would commission the nation’s CEIR spearheaded by NCC, maintaining that registration of stolen phones would be free-of-charge.

According to him, the initiative slated to be officially opened by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, was conceived by the government through NCC, while it was put in place by NetVisa GSMSecured Limited, in affiliation with the global operators group, the GSM Association (GSMA) and Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

Uchendu also said that the commissioning would pave the way for the full implementation of the project by all mobile operators in the country, through enabling telecom operators to be cautious of stolen phones and block same when eventually it is appropriately reported by their owners.

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