Amid Sunday deadline, group wants cut-off date extended for unregistered mobile phone lines
By TECHNOLOGY TIMES Reporter
Lagos. June 28, 2013: The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been asked to shift the SIM Registration exercise deadline lapsing by Sunday to avoid locking out subscribers from the mobile telephony family in Nigeria.
Mobile phone subscribers who are yet to submit their biometric details for registration will be cut off by all mobile phone companies by June 30 following a directive by the telecoms regulator.
Meanwhile the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) has called on NCC to offer subscribers a 3-month final warning within which they can still receive calls on their mobile phone lines.
Deolu Ogunbanjo, National President, NATCOMS, says that the call for a “three-month one-way final warning extension” during which subscribers will be able to receive calls on their line has become necessary following some issues identified by the advocacy group.
Ogunbanjo says that reports reaching NATCOMS show that during the SIM Registration exercise, some Umbrella SIM Registration Agents were not collecting the full details needed because of the rush by such agents to register as many subscribers so as get paid high sums of money.
“Some Umbrella SIM Registration Agents, during the active registration period and even now are asking subscribers to pay N100 before registration. A situation that discourages subscribers.”
In some cases, some Umbrella SIM Registration Agents, even when they are Agents of a particular network operator, collect other operators SIM cards for registration in order to shore up the number of SIM cards they register daily, NATCOMS says.
Ogunbanjo adds that, “some Umbrella SIM Registration Agents, copy their daily registered Subscribers and give to their colleagues in business as some form of ‘help’.”
NATCOMS says that it is concerned that due to these issues, a lot of subscribers risk being locked out of the mobile telephony family in Nigeria, “due to no fault of theirs as they think they have registered their SIM cards.”
“Perhaps, NCC added 12 months and 9 months together and extended by 21 months, which is now expiring on June 30, 2013. Yes, we say thank you to NCC.”, adds Ogunbanjo saying that its latest call for extension comes in wake of reports and concerns reaching the body in the last two to three weeks.
NATCOMS justifies its appeal for the extension by NCC noting that it i “against the backdrop of the above and in order to ensure that every subscriber is given fair consideration.”
Ogunbanjo adds that NATCOMS had hitherto sought a 12-month extension while the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), a pressure group of operating telecoms companies had asked for a 9-month extension.
NCC introduced the SIM Registration Programme in March, 2011 and was to end in September, 2011 before the extension.