The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed plans to kick of the second phase of its SIM registration verification and compliance audit.
The commission says the SIM registration is part of its effort to enhance national security and ensure consumer protection. The audit would be to monitor operators’ adherence to technical and other specifications for the subscriber registration and to detect registration-related infractions by mobile network operators (MNOs).
In 2011, the commission released its Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations and the Technical Standards and Specifications to spell out the required specifications.
This however, the commission says, will not disrupt the ongoing “backend verification and scrubbing” of the SIM registration data already submitted by MNOs – MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9Mobile and Mtel.
SIM registration data as a tool for enhancing national security
According to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the subscriber registration is an important tool used by security and law enforcement agencies in detecting and apprehending criminals who leverage the use of the nation’s telecoms network.
Hence, it is very important that all SIM cards in use are easily traceable to their real owners.
The commission recently announced its discovery that the SIM registration of 95.7 million subscribers were not properly carried out. This is why it intends to use this latest process to establish a clean and credible SIM registration database in the country.
“Our objectives are to carry out quality assurance on the integrity of all aspects of the subscriber registration process and to demonstrate zero tolerance for any deviation from laid-down processes by any industry player, no matter how seemingly minor. Our expectations are very high indeed, considering the national security and socio-economic implications of the Subscriber Registration Database.”Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC.
The commission also gave its assurance that the process will not cause service disruption to those who have genuinely registered their SIMs ass the exercise has been fashioned out in a way to gauge compliance at measured intervals using very professional tools and standards.
The SIM registration process began in 2011. In 2015, the mobile network operators were given a deadline to disconnect SIMs found not to be fully compliant with registration requirements. Operators that breached the order were issued various sanctions including the imposition of huge fines.
Later in 2017, a SIM Registration Task Force was set up to further harmonise registration practices across all networks. The work of this task force culminated in the recent establishment of a joint Industry Working Group comprising senior representatives of the NCC, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and MNOs – to harmonise the subscriber registration process with the National Identity Card Registration Project.
Verification and scrubbing of SIM Registration data is currently ongoing. This is to ensure the integrity of data submitted to the Commission by the MNOs before clean data is fed into the central database warehoused by NIMC.