Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NCC starts monitoring of new SIM card registration, tasks operators

*New SIM comes with receiver only

Following the recent licensing of seven indigenous companies to carry out the registration of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced registration and monitoring of new SIM cards in the country, even as mobile telecommunications operators have been warned to adhere to the recent directive to this effect or face sanctions.

The registering and monitoring of new SIM Cards took effect from Monday which brought to commencement the first phase of the SIM card registration led by NCC in collaboration with National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

Confirming this, Special Assistant on Media to the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Mr. Okoh Aihe, said that a major consequence in the SIM Card registration process with respect to the direction of the Commission is “that New SIM Cards being released into the distribution or sales channels shall henceforth be activated with ‘receive only’ and such subscribers should also be enabled to make calls to the emergency numbers and operators’ call centres for a period of thirty (30) days, after which they shall become inactive if not registered within this period.”

He urged operators to ensure compliance immediately since the commencement of the monitoring on February 14, 2011, while subscribers were warned on the use of unregistered SIM Cards, which he described as is illegal.

“… Hence, subscribers could be blocked after the mandatory period of registration,” he said.

He also said that in order to avoid the frustrations of blocked SIM cards, NCC advised the subscribers to insist on being registered at the point of purchase of new SIM Cards or the nearest designated registration point of the network operator and register the newly purchased SIM Card.

NCC further appealed to operators to make certain the full compliance with the Direction the Commission, saying that it shall at the expiration of the deadline, which is in August 14, 2011, enforce compliance and all defaulting network operators shall be sanctioned in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 and the Enforcement Regulations 2005.

“There will be penalty for default in the first instance followed with surcharges for each day the violation lasted,” he said.

Daily Champion recalls that a week ago, the Commission formally entered into agreement with seven companies that will handle the SIM Registration process in different zones of the country.

The organisations were SW Global (South East), PNN (North Central), JKK (South West), and Chams (Lagos). Others were DataGroupIT (North East), Eagle/CBC (North West) and E-Kenneth/SageMetrics (South South).

The activities of the contracting partners, NCC said, would be coordinated by KPMG, an international professional services firm with a member firm in Nigeria.

Additionally, the firm would provide end-to-end project management coordination of the entire project. Contract span is six months. It is our considered opinion that KPMG would rely on its global experience to ensure conformity with our agreement with the service providers.

Although operators started SIM Card Registration since last year, registering only about 12 million at the moment, the NCC driven phase of SIM Registration is expected to last for six months, covering the remaining SIMs of over 72 million.

Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah sees the SIM Registration process as a major phase in the development of the country’s telecommunications industry, and is taking the exercise with all seriousness even as he has appealed to subscribers to get registered or be taken off the networks after six months.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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