By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
Mobile telecoms service providers in the country have called on the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to show leadership by first publicly declaring the integrity of subscribers’ data it captured during the ongoing registration of subscriber identification modules (SIMs) instead of insisting on disconnecting unregistered SIMs by June 30th.
Acting under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the umbrella body of all the major telecoms operators in the country, the operators insist that given the reality on ground, they were not prepared to end the exercise.
ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, said: “I think what the NCC itself should do is to provide a direction of the database it has registered. Recall that we did some part and NCC also did some part. So, if NCC is putting the deadline of 30th of June, I think the situation demands that NCC should give a declaration of the readiness or integrity of the data it has recorded over the period before putting a blanket disconnection order on service providers.”
“So for me, I think before we are going out to say subscribers that are unregistered should be disconnected, I think we should embark on the period of data clean up where there will be integration of data registered by the operators and those registered by the regulator and after the outcome of that, we can take a decision either to disconnect or not.
But as it is today, it will appear that NCC is sitting on its own data, no one knows the integrity of the data it has collated. We haven’t done harmonisation of the data collected by them and by us and (the NCC) is coming to give June deadline, I think there is need to review the decision again.”
He added: “Given the reality of what we face today, you know we have had significant disruption in our activities in some parts of the country which has also affected the movement of persons and business activities. So circumstances in the last three or four months haven’t really helped situation as it were. Therefore readiness, as we have today, I can say to you is not 100%.”
According to him, disconnecting subscribers on the network is like putting the cart before the horse, adding that the regulator should show leadership and direction by providing information about the integrity of the data it gathered in the course of the exercise.