Wednesday, October 05, 2011

SIM card: NATCOMS calls for 12-month extension

The National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), has joined calls for an extension of the just concluded Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration by12 months.

NATCOMS President, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, made this call recently in Lagos, saying that there were myriad of challenges facing the exercise and requested for a 12 month extension.

He noted that prior to NCC’s SIM card registration which commenced on March 28, this year, all the telecoms operators actually started SIM Card Registration in August, 2010, about 13 months earlier, yet the nation could not registered more than 12 million subscribers.

*Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, NATCOMS president
He emphasized the fact that during the stakeholders meeting in preparation for the SIM card registration his association, the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) had raised alarm on the impending challenges, including the criteria for the identity cards, spread of registration centres, registration timeline of six months and level of public enlightenment and sensitization among others.

Currently, he said there are some new issues of note which must be addressed in order to be fair, just and be seen to be regulator-friendly to Nigerian subscribers.

He outlined these to include inadequate coverage, population density, low rural penetration, wide geographical area, current security threats of Boko Haram, Jos riots, bomb threats in some areas and across states to name a few.

NATCOMS boss did not forget the inadequate briefing of SIM registration agents on necessary and sufficient instructions about the exercise, even as some of them misinformed subscribers; natural disasters floods across some cities and states; absence of periodic monthly review and subscriber education and motivation.

Against this background, NATCOMS appealed to the Nigerian Communications Commission, the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Communication Technology and the President and Commander–In–Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria to extend the SIM Card Registration Exercise in line with International best practices for another 12 months with monthly industry periodic review meetings to ensure regular updates and total subscriber compliance.

Meanwhile, NCC said it has commenced the collation and harmonization of all existing registered SIM cards nationwide with a window for accommodating more subscribers.

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

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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