Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Nigeria - Registraton of SIM cards is now obligatory, others will be disconnected

[vanguard] The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, weekend, said that with effect from yesterday, no new SIM card would work until it was fully registered.

Juwah who was speaking with Vanguard Editors during a courtesy visit to the corporate headquarters of the newspapers, also disclosed that the National Security Adviser quelled the raging debacle between his commission and the operators over who should register the new and old subscribers in the country.

Juwah said: "All the decisions taken on SIM card registration were taken by all the interested parties. The forum included all the telecommunications service providers, security services, the police, SSS, NSA, and all other prospective service providers.

"Along the line, a directive was issued to the service providers to start registering the new subscribers only. They went and started registering the old subscribers also. That is actually, where the controversy started because by the agreement, they were to register new subscribers from May 1, 2010.

"This controversy later became very serious. The national security adviser summoned us and everybody made their case. The operators' case was actually that they had spent some money doing the registration, for which they were worried that all their work would go down in vain, if the exercise was cancelled.

Checking text messages.

Our own case was that the initial agreement was that they register only the new SIMs and should not have delved into registering old subscribers."

He noted, however, that after all deliberations, it was unanimously agreed that NCC, alongside the service providers, would do the SIM card registration together.

Juwah added: "With the final passage of our 2011 budget in December, we really have authority to award contract on the SIM card registration to service providers and that, we have concluded.

The project of implementation has just started. By the end of this month, they will start rolling out to the streets.

Although the government has given us the end of June to complete this exercise but we could not start it together with SIM card registration, because the period of June started from January. We may conclude the substantial aspect of the registration by June, but may be it will be extended a little bit further."

Direction to operators

Juwah said the registration will cover every SIM card and that NCC has issued a direction to all operators from February 14, not to sell activated new SIM cards.

He added: "As from February 14 this year, all the SIM cards coming into the market will not be active until they are registered. New SIM cards will be registered by the operators, while the old SIM cards will be registered by both the operators and NCC.

"NCC has appointed seven contractors for the registration. One for each geo-political zone of the nation plus Abuja. So, all SIM cards will be registered by the time we conclude the registration. All SIM cards that remain unregistered will be stopped from functioning until it is registered."

NCC Descends On Unregistered SIM Cards Users

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