NCC insists on revoking licences of erring telecoms operators


•Says intervention reduced call masking, refilling

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it would penalise and possibly revoke the licenses of any telecommunication operators implicated in masking international telephone calls.It explained that its recent intervention has resulted in reduced call masking and refilling in the industry.

In spite of the positive development, the commission insisted that the operating licenses of some of the interconnect exchange and other licensees involved in the practice would either be revoked or suspended in the coming weeks.

An NCC official told The Guardian yesterday that the commission and senior security operatives met with representatives of the licensees at its Abuja office last week, where they were confronted with some of the evidences and to give them another opportunity to defend themselves.

In accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act and its subsidiary regulations, the implicated licensees have been given till January 31 to show why the Commission should not revoke or suspend their operating licenses in view of evidence of their involvement at its disposal.

NCC had last week indicted about six operators including Interconnect Clearing House Nigeria Limited; Medallion Communications Limited; Nicconx Communications Limited; Breeze Micro Limited; Solid Interconnectivity and Exchange Telecommunications limited, of fuelling call masking and refilling in the industry.

The official said: “Because of the critical impacts of this nefarious practice on national security and consumer experience, the Commission is determined to decisively deal with any of its licensees implicated in the scam.

“We do not want to expose the country to any further embarrassment. At the very least, serious sanctions would be imposed on them if their involvement does not justify revocation of their licenses.”He also disclosed that the NCC had taken the pains to strictly follow the provisions of the applicable laws so that no one could claim to be unfairly treated, given the severity of the sanctions it was planning to impose.

Meanwhile, customer experience data monitored by the commission indicates that there has been a noticeable reduction in the volume of masked calls being received by subscribers.

NCC claimed that this was reflective of the very aggressive measures it has taken to deal with the menace.“Nonetheless, we are not taking anything for granted. We will continue to aggressively monitor all our licensees regardless of their size or scope of their operations. Anyone found wanting would be dealt with in accordance with law,” he stated.

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