Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Confusion trails SIM registration deadline

Despite the extension window extended by the telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for subscribers to still register their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards during the harmonization period yet undetermined, indications have emerged that confusion is now trailing and threatening the entire process.
This follows the fact that some operators, supposedly acclaimed big players but not leaders in the market are calling subscribers up to say ‘Sorry sir, your SIM has not been registered.’

This is even when such subscribers have personally registered their SIMs at the mobile operators’ office ever before the commencement of NCC’s six month exercise that ended on September 28, this year.

Lamenting his ordeal, a subscriber of one of the operators who seek anonymity, said he was surprised to be called upon by a customer care that his line which he registered at the operator’s office along airport road, was not registered.

He said, it took the customer care agent some times to convince him by asking him to send REG to a given code, which would tell him if his mobile line was registered on their data base or not.

According to him, when the exercise started, he took his household who have come of age of using mobile phones and own some to visit each of the operators in unionism to ensure that everyone got registered.

In fact, for him, it is surprising and really shocking to note that only him has been singled out as who did not register his own SIM cards.

He pointed out that on further probe, the customer care agent was frank to tell him that there could be some probability that after he registered the SIM and left that something went amaze and they don’t have the guts to call such a customer back.

Our source said he was now directed to register his SIM cards as soon as possible, although he is still under shock, he promised to adhere to the instruction.

Investigations by ITRealms Online revealed that most operators though not comfortable with the development and were not comfortable to talk about it.

However, NCC a fortnight ago commenced the collation and harmonization of all existing registered SIM cards nationwide with a window for accommodating more subscribers to still register.

The National Assembly also requested NCC to extend the duration of the SIM card registration.

This follows the end of a six-month countrywide SIM registration exercise, which began on March 28, 2011 and came to a close on September 28, this year.

Head, Media & Public Relations, NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, who confirmed these development said that the registration exercise was undertaken through NCC appointed SIM Registration consultants in each of the six geopolitical zones, including Lagos; and the telecom service providers.

According to him, given the vast geographical spread of the country, and the logistics involved in the registration exercise over the past six months, there is need for proper harmonization of the data in line with the specifications issued by the Commission.

He also said that the harmonization process would involve the collation, reconciliation, cleaning, and consolidation of the captured data into a central data infrastructure for efficient management of Nigeria’s subscriber data base.

Commending the nation’s telecom subscribers for participating actively in the SIM registration exercise, he noted that a new window of opportunity is now open for those who have not yet registered their SIM cards to do so within the limited period of the harmonization exercise.

This limited period, provides the last chance for all users of existing SIM Cards to register as all unregistered SIM Cards will be promptly disconnected without further notice at the conclusion of the harmonization exercise.

The Commission is fully aware of the clamour by many interested stakeholders, and stakeholder organizations, for extension of the period for the registration of existing SIM Cards.

The Commission, he said, believes that the six months period provided for the registration exercise, was ample time for all phone users in the country to register their SIM Cards with either their service providers, or the NCC appointed registration consultants.

“It is in deference to the clamour by the stakeholders, that the Commission has provided this opportunity for all those who have not registered on account of logistic challenges, to do so without any further delay while the harmonization is ongoing,” he said.

As said by him within the limited period of the harmonization exercise, service providers would be directed not to disconnect any subscriber on account of the registration until the Commission announces the completion of the process after which those who remain unregistered would be disconnected.

“We commend all subscribers, who, in spite of some challenges along the way, responded positively to this national call to duty, by registering their SIM Cards. We also commend the service providers, and the NCC appointed registration consultants for their commitment towards the success of the SIM registration exercise,” he said.

Another telecom consumer, who gave his name as Joseph, said he has received calls from his mobile operator, requesting him to go and register his SIM as its currently not registered with the network, in spite of the fact that he explained to the customer care agent that he had registered the SIM with NCC’s accredited agents.

Joseph told ITRealms Online, he is confused on what to do, as NCC has warned of double registration, just as he requested the agency to call the mobile operators to order to avoid escalated panic.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D


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