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Substandard, Stolen Phones Are Environmental, Economic Risks: NCC Moves to Disconnect them

NCC, worried by socio-economic impacts of substandard and stolen phones in the market, moves to disconnect them from access network services.

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Substandard Phones
NCC moves against Substandard Phones

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had at different occasions cautioned consumers on the socio-economic and environmental challenges which patronage and use of counterfeit and substandard mobile devices pose to the consumers themselves, to government, quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE), public safety and health, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) drive, electronic waste (E-Waste) issue, among others.

Type-approval of smartphones falls under the NCC’s statutory role in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.

It can be recalled that at a-day workshop held at the Dover Hotel in Ikeja Lagos in continuation of its ceaseless efforts to effectively regulate the industry by ensuring that licensees comply with the extant industry type approval regulation, which overarching objective is to ensure industry interoperability, quality of service (QoS) and safety, a team from NCC rallied stakeholders to abide by the roles of the business.

Discussions at the forum focused on sensitising the stakeholders to the need for type approval of telecom equipment (mobile or major), used by network operators in the deployment of services while also raising the red flag on inherent dangers associated with the use of non-type approved equipment and mobile devices imported by unscrupulous elements into the country.

Apparently, the economic saboteurs aren’t listening, particularly those who take pleasure in flooding the market with substandard phones through grey market activities.

To this end, NCC, TechEconomy.ng gathered, is finalising plans to disconnect substandard phones from all networks in the country.

This will be implemented through the deployment of the Device Management System (DMS), a technology solution that will also allow the telecoms regulator to disconnect any phone flagged as stolen.

According to a report by Nairametrics, the regulator will be leveraging the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI), which is the unique number for each device, which is registered the moment a phone is connected, to achieve this.

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According to the Information Memorandum (IM) on the project, the DMS solution will enable the NCC to monitor, manage and secure the telecommunications sector in the country. It will also provide a single control point for comprehensive device management for mobile and network devices.

While the process has commenced, the NCC notes that the final implementation of the project has to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Explaining the rationale for the deployment of the solution in Nigeria, NCC said: “A considerable number of counterfeit ICT devices have found their way into global markets, including in Nigeria. The proliferation of these devices is raising concerns about national security, performance, quality of service delivery and potential revenue losses for all stakeholders.

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“This has led to the call by ITU member states, particularly those in developing countries to address the issue, especially its negative effects and to study the impact of measures taken to address it. Counterfeit mobile devices pose security and health risks to the consumer as well as economic risks to the brand that is being counterfeited. In the background of Boko Haram in Nigeria and other terrorist groups using cloned cell phones, many key security concerns relating to counterfeit electronic devices arise,” the Commission explained.

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