The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, is set to come up with a new guideline that will harmonise the processes and procedures for Subscribers Identification Module SIM swap across all networks.
SIM Swap is the process of replacing your existing SIM with a new SIM, or moving your existing number to the new SIM without changing your number.
The decision followed various complaints by subscribers over unauthorised SIM swaps by service providers and fraudulent activities emanating from such exercise, all of which will stop if the new guideline comes into effect.
Head, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, who stated this at the Telecoms Consumer Parliament in Abuja, said the Commission had received so many complaints from the public on unauthorised SIM swap, adding that in some cases, some nefarious activities were carried out with such SIM Cards.
She said that a taskforce has been set up between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the lender of last resort, and NCC to look into some of the issues with a view to finding solutions to them.
She said: “CBN is the banking regulator that is why we have entered into this taskforce with them so that between us and the CBN, we can find solution to this matter. There was a situation that was brought to our attention where a subscriber was having issues with his number and thought that it was a network issue, but by the time he discovered what was happening, about N4 million had been taken out of his bank account. The person is resident here in Abuja, while the money was taken away from Kano, and he has never been to Kano, so there is no way this would have been done without the connivance of an insider. We discovered that right now, the procedure for SIM swap differs from one operator to the other and we want to standardise how SIM Swap is done.”
Akinloye also said there were pending Bills at the National Assembly aimed at addressing the problem of unsolicited massages, which subscribers are constantly subjected to.
A representative of the Consumer Protection Council, (CPC), Shamm Kolo, had earlier identified some of the major complaints brought to Council by consumers to include unauthorised SIM Swap, unsolicited caller tunes and music religious massages, lotto, and promos which are being forced on consumers, which they find difficult to opt out of.
CPC is a government agency, set up in 1992, to receive and provide speedy redress to consumer complaints through negotiation, mediation, conciliation and prosecution where necessary.
Also at the event, telecoms subscribers complained that in spite of the introduction of the 2442 “Do Not Disturb (DND) code by the NCC, they are still being inundated with unsolicited massages by the service providers.
One of the subscribers, Miss Eyitayo Oladokun, complained that even after activating the DND code, she still receives a lot of unsolicited massages from her service provider.
Responding to some of the complaints, a representative of MTN, Adamu Abubakar, explained that some subscribers find it difficult to opt out either because they are using handsets that are not meant for the Nigerian market or as a result of wrong code activation.