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NCC  CEO, Eugene Juwah

Emma Okonji
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has imposed a total fine of N53.8 million on MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and Etisalat for contravening its provision on the pre-registration of SIM cards.

The sanction, which attracted separate fines, was in furtherance of the ongoing enforcement of the provisions of the Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations 2011.

The sanction imposed on the firms were based on the number of fully activated new SIM cards that were either reported to the commission or purchased in compliance monitoring and enforcement exercises conducted by the commission, and validated by the offending network.

The Head, Media and Public Relations at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, who confirmed the imposed sanction, said “each of such pre-registered SIMs found attracts a penalty of N200,000.”

 

Based on the number of pre-registered SIM cards traced to each of the mobile operators, Airtel was fined N8.6 million for the availability of 43 pre-registered SIM cards traced to it during the exercise.

Also, Etisalat was asked to pay a fine in the N5 million for contravening on 25 pre-registered SIM cards while Globacom was liable to a fine in the sum of N11 million for 55 pre-registered SIM cards. MTN is liable to pay the sum of N29.2 million, for contravening on 146 pre-registered SIM cards.

The service providers were given up to seven days within which to pay the fine, failure of which attracts N500,000 for any additional day that the contravention persists.

 

The commission in the notice of sanction to the service providers signed by the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, Ms. Josephine Amuwa, and Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr. Ubale Maska, said the sanction was in exercise of its discretionary powers following prior warnings in April 2012 that Network Service Providers (NSP) would be liable for breaches by their registration centres carrying out pre-registration of the new SIM cards for sales, since it is the providers that activate the new SIM cards.

“Based on the report of enforcement exercises against hawkers, agents and backend suppliers of fully activated pre-registered new SIM cards in 2012, and first quarter of 2013, it has been established that there is an urgent need to sanction all network operators who have not complied with the direction” Muoka said.
He added that the commission reminded the service providers that at the commencement of the SIM registration exercise project, it had instructed that all New SIM cards going into the distribution and sales channels must only be activated as ‘receive only’ with a proviso that all such cards can only call emergency numbers and operators’ call centres for a period of 30 days, failure to register such SIM cards thereafter will render such SIM cards inactive.

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