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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SIM card registration: 11m subscribers covered so far

Almost eight months after the commencement of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration, Nigeria has recorded an estimated 11 million subscribers.

This is coming as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has advanced plans for takeoff of its own SIM registration come February this year.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah made this disclosure in Lagos in an interactive session with the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) media.

He also said that top on his agenda at NCC is the issue of Quality of Service (QoS), which paved the way for his setting up of a task force on quality of service as soon as he resumed at the commission.

According to him, one of the terms of reference for the task force on QoS was to discuss how the quality of telecom services could be improved for the benefit of Nigerian subscribers.

Juwah noted that this was the focus of the first meeting he convened with the chief executive officers (CEOs) of operating telecom companies on October 8, 2010.

“One of the major achievements of that task force is the fast tracking of the regulation on QoS, which has been longstanding,” he said, stressing that with this regulation, every service provider would now be held properly accountable by telecom consumers and the regulator.

Another important issue which needed immediate attention on his assumption of office, Juwah said, was SIM Card registration for which NCC immediately published the draft regulation for industry consultation.

“We sort to manage a situation where SIM cards were still being sold in the streets, several months after the Commission set the May 1, 2010 date for operators to commence registration,” he said.

NCC, therefore want to ensure that all new SIM cards are registered by the operators as mandated and expect them to render regular account of the numbers registered.

He pointed out that NCC is now finalizing arrangements to commence registration of all existing SIM Cards from February 2011.

Business Champion recalls that on Thursday, July 29, 2010, the Nigerian Senate, at a sitting in Abuja, confirmed Dr. Eugene Ikemefuna Juwah as the new Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

This follows the controversy that trailed his screening by the Senate Committee on Communications, which resulted in disbanding due to purported irregularities and poor screening.

Juwah’s confirmation brought to an end the four–month search for replacement of Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, the erstwhile chief executive of the Commission whose two-term tenure ended in March, 2010.

In addition, Juwah was confirmed alongside other nominees for the vacant positions of two commissioners at the telecom regulatory agency board, namely Mr. Peter Egbe Igho, a retired Permanent Secretary from Benue State who replaces Alhaji Ahmed Joda as Chairman, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi, former Deputy Governor of Enugu State, who replaced Mr. Stephen Bello as Executive Commissioner, and Alhaji Mohammed Bintube from North East who took the place of Mr. Patrick Kentebe as Commissioner.

Dr. Juwah, with about 30 years hands-on experience as a telecoms engineer is seen by the Presidency as having the necessary credentials to manage Nigeria’s telecom regulatory agency and maintain its international reputation.

The Delta State born telecom expert with a doctorate degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester, England, served as a Member, Subcommittee for Telecommunication Sector Liberalization and Restructuring in Nigeria in 2002, the committee that laid the solid foundation for the liberalization of the industry and enactment of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.

Equally, with his 30 years telecom experience in Nigeria spanning from the early 1990s when he managed the network operations of MTS Firsts wireless’ ETACS mobile telephony to the late 1990s when he superintended over the deployment of CIL, till the early 2000 when he managed the deployment of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network, which gave rebirth to MTS, Dr. Juwah is seen to have traversed the entire Nigeria’s telecom industry.

Knowledgeable in digital exchanges, base station, data communication and subscriber access networks construction and operations, Dr. Juwah has played coordinating roles in the set up of an ETACS, GSM and CDMA Mobile Networks in Nigeria at various times in Nigeria.

This was in addition to his roles in practical pricing, billing, interconnection, licensing and regulatory affairs and network fraud control within the Nigerian environment.

Remmy Nweke:

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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