Mobile operators in Nigeria have begun a phased disconnection of unregistered SIM cards following the expiration of the deadline as instructed by the country’s telecoms regulatory body, the National Communications Commission (NCC).
Since the inception of GSM technology in 2001, Nigerians have been offered SIM cards without the requirement of an identity registration. However, with growing security challenges and the need to develop a unified platform for data collation, profile prediction and faster implementation of value added services like the Number Portability Service, the NCC launched a campaign in March, 2011, to register existing sim cards nationwide.
The official closing date was supposed to be in January 2012, but it was later extended to June 30.
According to the NCC, after the campaign, mobile users were still operating unregistered SIM cards, prompting the regulatory body to announce a June 30, 2013 deadline, directing all mobile operators to disconnect defaulting users thereafter.
This directive has been duly respected, as operators have since commenced the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards in phases.
“The operators had actually commenced disconnection of unregistered SIMs on their networks and some of them are doing it in phases, because it is not something they have to complete at a stretch.” confirmed Mr Tony Ojobo, director of public affairs at the NCC.
“It has to be done in phases because they are dealing with sensitive technologies.”
The director noted that the disconnection of mobile subscribers was due earlier, but the body decided to listen to those who requested an extension, adding that it was now tired of shifting the deadline.
“It was a 27-month period that the SIM card registration lasted in this country because NCC decided to listen to people who had always asked for extension.” Mr Ojobo said.
“The registration exercise, which commenced in March 2011, was supposed to end in six months, but we kept extending the date from six months to 12 months, to 18 months, to 24 months and finally to 27 months and we are tired of shifting the post.”
Mobile Operators also confirmed the disconnection; MTN’s public relations manager, Mr Funsho Aina told THISDAY that the operator had already disconnected all unregistered users from its network, with sources from Etisalat and GLO also confirming the disconnection of SIM cards.
Source: Ventures Africa