• Sunday, May 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

NCC shuts down Owntel over illegal operation

NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has clamped down on Owntel Communications for allegedly offering telecommunications services to customers, without obtaining requisite operational licence to do so.

Salisu Abdul, head of enforcement, who led the NCC enforcement team, visited the office of Owntel on Isheri Road in Ojodu, Lagos, where it confiscated some of its equipment as evidence for illegal operation.

Owntel is offering telecoms services on vehicle tracking, as well as sales and installation of fixed and mobile telecommunication terminals, without operational licence, which NCC described as an offence amounting to defrauding of the Federal Government.

Apart from offering vehicle tracking devices, Owntel is also involved in the sales and installation of telecoms equipment like CCTV Camera, GSM terminal, Routers and Internet Modems, including Walkie Talkie and phones.

The law clearly stipulates that a person must be competent in the sales and installation and in the delivering of such services, through the official obtaining of operational licence from the telecoms regulatory body, the NCC, before embarking on such business.

Speaking with journalists shortly after the raid, weekend, Abdul said, “Owntel is providing telecommunication services, especially vehicle tracking services, which involve network and data services that require licence, yet it is operating without any licence.”

He further added that the company was duly monitored for some several months before arriving at the decision to clamp down on it. According to him, the telecoms regulator, had in October 8 this year, written to Owntel, warning the company of the implications of its action, and providing it with ample time to respond to the commission in order to begin the process of registration. The company however disregarded the warning and continued in the illegal business.

The company manager, who refused to speak to the enforcement team, was seen shouting aloud that the company had begun the process of licensing but has not completed it.

READ ALSO: NCC Targets 70% Broadband Penetration by 2025

Mohammed Abaji, head of licensing at commission, who was part of the NCC enforcement team, said if Owntel had started the process of licensing, as claimed by the manager, the firm would have completed the process long ago, as it takes only two days to process and complete registration process for licensing operations for sales and installations, while it takes 90 days to complete the registration and licensing for vehicle tracking services.

He advised customers to be careful in dealing with telecoms service providers, and always insist that the registration and licence number of any telecoms operator be printed on the receipt they issue to customers, as directed by the NCC.

He said NCC would seal up the business premises of Owntel, until a time when the company is issued with operational licence.

Ben Uzor