(tv360Nigeria) – The Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has ordered mobile telecom firms to block pre-registered sim cards, believed to be used by criminals to perpetuate crimes across the country.Ismail Adedigba, NCC deputy director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, also warned that severe punishment awaits any provider whose network is still carrying pre-registered sim cards.
Adedigba, who chaired the commission’s 87th consumer outreach in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, frowned at complaints about the existence of pre-registered sim cards insisting that” I expected to hear that all sim cards are registered. But I have issues with Service Providers here, how did we get these pre-registered sims to start with?”
“I think your networks should have the total number of available lines and the total number of subscribers in your database, and as such you should be able to know which sims age registered and those that are not registered and automatically deactivate those that are pre-registered and those that are not properly registered.
“But a situation where we are still having pre-registered sim cards with the advancement in technology today, is a surprise to me, and note that a severe punishment awaits any provider whose network is still carrying pre-registered sim cards.”
Africa’s largest telecom company, MTN earlier this year paid the sum of N30 billion to the Federal government in part settlement of a N330 billion fine.The fine was imposed on MTN for its failure to disconnect unregistered SIM cards as ordered by the Nigerian Government.
The fine is due for payment in six instalments over three years.
MTN Nigeria was originally fined $5.2 billion last October for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM cards, but the fine was reduced in a settlement that paved the way for MTN to list its subsidiary on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Nigeria has been cracking down on unregistered and pre-registered SIM cards, concerned that they are been used by kidnappers and terrorist group Boko Haram to carry out criminal activities.
NCC’s Deputy Director also urged service providers to step up their services to save some of the frustrations their consumers are going through because of poor service delivery.
According to him, there is presently no known cancer case or any other health challenge traceable to telecommunication masts and asked the public to save themselves the fear that the electro magnate radiation from the network equipment causes skin cancer or any other type of disease.
He said: “As a today, there is no health implication, according to the World Health Organization(WHO). So there is no health research and well-known health implication of mast as at today. You should not prevent the service provider from deploying masts. The more masts we have, the better quality service we have.
“At the NCC, we believe consumer is the king in the palace market. Therefore, the consumer must accord basic rights such as rights to be heard, right to be educated, right to redress as well as right to safety.”