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NCC to disconnect unregistered SIMs soon

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After the successful launch of the mobile number portability scheme yesterday, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has warned that all unregistered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) will soon be disconnected. Giving a detailed explanation on the process of number portability, Tony Ojobo, director, public affairs, NCC, told BusinessDay weekend that the telecoms regulator would soon announce the grace period after which all SIMs yet to be registered would be yanked off the GSM network. He said that telecoms subscribers who port to other mobile networks cannot change their network again until a period of 90 days.

According to him, adequate measures have been put in place to ensure the success of the scheme expected to give subscribers the freedom to switch to other networks and retain their numbers, as “both pre- and post-paid subscribers can port from network to network. Subscribers can port for as many times as they like. But at any point in time they must retain their network for at least 90 days before they move and this is free.”

The NCC director said there would be Number Portability Operator to ensure a smooth operation of number portability, adding that the operator and the commission would monitor the process to also ensure that subscribers are not blackmailed into retaining any network provider against their wish. Meanwhile, subscribers to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators like Visafone and Starcomms may not be part of the revolution.

But NCC has said it will shift focus to CDMA operators after the successful launch and take-off of the MNP service within the GSM networks. Mobile Number Portability is currently operational in South Africa and some countries in Europe, but was delayed in Nigeria since the roll-out of GSM services in August 2001, for fear of unstable networks. Now that NCC is convinced that the GSM networks are stable and robust enough to carry increased traffic that is associated with MNP, the commission, in agreement with the telcos, announced April 22, 2013 as the new date for MNP launch.

 

Stories by BEN UZOR JR