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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SIM registration: ATCON commends legislature, says exercise is in progress

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has commended the federal legislature for backing the efforts to have the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards of telecom users in the country registered by putting same into law.

This is coming as ATCON canvassed for a 24 month implementation period, so as to make the SIM registration a success.

Speaking in Lagos, Monday at a press briefing, ATCON’s president, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu said that the recent order by the telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for operators to make certain registration of all subscribers within three months is not realistic though desirable.

He said that the intervention of the federal legislator’s by way of proposing a parliamentary Bill on SIM registration is a welcome development, stressing that ATCON, as an interested party has made some input too.

“We have already made contribution to the draft,” he said, but insisted that the campaign for SIM registration was started by ATCON and its members are already making efforts to ensure its success.

ATCON also wants NCC to engage Nigerians on the public enlightenment campaign, saying that it’s only NCC that could persuade subscribers in the country to adhere to SIM registration which is ongoing.

They noted that the campaign should not be left alone to the telecom operators, because Nigerians would perceive it as another means of ‘milking’ them.

On number portability, ATCON said that it is an acceptable industry management tool by which the industry could improve its service delivery.

“The benefits of number portability is however not as dramatic as to let it be handled in a hurry,” he warned, maintaining that while accepting its desirability a longer implementation period is equally desirable.

The group further called for lawful interception, especially for public security related issues, saying that this would ensure check and balances to avoid abuse, even as the rollout cost should be borne by the government, while an administrative review panel should be put in place to oversee the interception regulation and processes.

He maintained that at this era of convergence, there is need also to converge the regulatory organs of the government as far as the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is concerned, asserting that it is not only NCC and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as there are other agencies within the sector that would be brought to bear on convergence of regulation.

Meanwhile, determined to reform the industry, the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) recently migrated its website address to .ng, the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).

With this development, ATCON website hitherto hosted at www.atcononline.org has been transferred to .ng, thus it could be accessed via www. atcon.org.ng.

National president, ATCON, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, made this disclosure at the second edition of the West African Information and Communications Technology (WAFICT) congress at the three-day event, which held in Lagos.

He also invited members of ATCON in the country, both individual and corporate to toe the line of ATCON by domesticating their domain identity in the cyberspace.

“In this regard, we invite all members of ATCON, indeed all telecommunication firms in Nigeria to commence the domestication of their domain identity in cyberspace,” he said.

According to him, ATCON has taken the lead in migrating own identity to atcon.org.ng and all other things related to that have been domesticated in the new Nigerian domain.

In addition, he disclosed that ATCON is working towards hosting the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) in the next eight years, which is 2018.

Expressing optimism on the sectoral growth, so far, the ATCON president, stressed that the next level of corporation in the West Africa’s ICT industry is cross-border synergies.

“So, as far as positivity goes, there is hardly a better time to be here as we ride on the crest of a wave geared towards moving our industry to the next level,” he said.

The Nigerian market by all indication, he said, is not a blank canvass, hence it is necessary, and to address certain structural and infrastructural problems that might give the illusion or may be presented as if there is a saturated market on hand already.

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