Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Report
(Quarter 1 - 2017)
Compliance Monitoring And Enforcement Of The Commission’s Direction On The Establishment Of SIM Card Registration Controlled Environment In The Nigerian Telecoms Industry
Following the Commission’s Direction of 30th November, 2016 that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) create or provide a controlled environment for its Authorized Dealers and Registration Agents to undertake SIM Card Registration in the Country, the Commission directed operators to forward a comprehensive list of all their Authorized Controlled SIM Registration Centers/ Dealers in line with the above Direction.
Arising from the above, the Commission commenced the enforcement of the Direction starting with Abuja metropolis: Nyanya, Karu and Area 1, on 15th, 16th and 23rd February, 2017 respectively. In the course of the enforcement exercise some arrests were made and registration machines confiscated from unauthorized agents by a team of official of the Commission and law enforcement agents. Those arrested have been handed over the Nigeria Police for further investigation and prosecution.
Further to the above, the Commission has also commenced the nationwide compliance monitoring of this Direction which will cover the 36 states of the federation.
Investigation Of Complaints And Directives Regarding Unauthorized Value Added Service Subscriptions
The Commission’s attention was drawn to some alleged cases of unauthorized subscription to VAS service by some MNOs.
The complaints received are as follows:
- MTN Nigeria Communications Limited - unauthorized subscription to African Proverbs/wise saying service through short code "50031" belonging to Mobility Arts Nigeria Limited (MANL).
- MTN Nigeria Communications Limited- Callertunez service
- Airtel Networks Limited – Soccer7 services
- Etisalat - Cullertunez service
Whereas these operators have been directed to immediately stop the service to the concerned subscribers, the Commission requested them to submit the Call Date Records (CDR) to determine further enforcement action regarding the matter.
Q1, 2017 Compliance Monitoring Of Value Added Service (VAS) Licensees
Consistent with the Commission’s Annual monitoring plan, a compliance monitoring exercise was carried out in quarter one (1) with focus on the Value Added Service (VAS) licensees. The Value Added Service (VAS) segment is one of the most critical and fast growing segment of the Nigerian telecoms industry, and with the recent issuance of more VAS licenses it necessitated the compliance monitoring exercise from 14th – 23th February 2017.
Arising from the exercise, the following submissions were presented for the Commission’s consideration:
- Review of licence obligation to publish the Individual Code of Practice (ICCP) in at least two (2) national dailies, which is onerous to small startup telecoms service providers and further compounds the ease of doing business in Nigeria;
- To consider the submission and approval of Individual Code of Practice (ICCP) as perquisite for granting telecommunication license ;
- To consider physical verification of office addresses provided by prospective licencees to mitigate the difficulty in locating most licensees during compliance monitoring exercise or other important assignments by the Commission.
Proposed Memorandum Of Understanding Between The Commission And The Nigerian Security And Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)
As part of the strategy to address the challenges of pre-registered SIM Cards and the protection of critical telecommunication infrastructure across the States, the Commission and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) are set to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) based on the resolution of a Joint Intelligent Board (JIB meeting held on 23rd February 2017). JIB had directed that NCC collaborates with the NSCDC in addressing challenges of pre-registered SIM Cards & Critical Telecommunication Infrastructure issues.
The Commission had met with NSCDC and a draft MOU was prepared now awaiting review of NSCDC.
Sensitization Workshop For Law Enforcement Agencies On Telecommunications Issues
The Commission continued its sensitization workshop for Law Enforcement agents on telecommunication issues. The workshop for the South-South geo-political zone was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on 21st March, 2017 having held previous similar workshops in Lagos and Kano states.
The purpose of the workshop is to educate the law enforcement agencies i.e. the Nigeria police, Nigeria Custom and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) etc on the regulatory activities of the NCC, the telecoms laws and regulations and the need for synergy between the NCC and the law enforcement agencies at ensuring effective enforcement of laws and regulations.
At the end of the workshop, the following major communique was issued amongst others:
- The "telecoms revolution" in Nigeria has also thrown up challenges hitherto unknown to our criminal jurisprudence. Issues such as vandalism of critical telecoms infrastructure, sale of pre-registered SIM cards, cyber-crimes, importation and use of substandard communication equipment are some of the emerging criminal activities that require the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies and other critical stakeholders to combat.
- Specialized courts and/or divisions should be created to handle communications-related crimes. Automation of our court system should be pursued vigorously for speedy dispensation of justice.
- Bureaucratic bottlenecks in obtaining information during investigation and evidence gathering should be adequately addressed.
- Existing Telecoms Laws and Regulations should be reviewed to address modern realities and Telecoms-related crimes should be expanded to include crimes typically facilitated with the use of communication equipment, gadgets and telecom subscribers.
- A National Policy framework for ICT should be developed for policing.
Regulatory Interventions/Engagements With Ministries/Agencies Of States On Matters Affecting The Deployment Of Telecommunications InfrastructureDuring the period under review, the Commission engaged the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) and the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) following disagreements on installation telecommunications infrastructure in the state.
In a bid to resolve these issues, the Commission facilitated a meeting between LASIMRA and ALTON in Lagos, on Monday, 6th February, 2017.
Arising from deliberations, the meeting arrived at the following resolutions:
- That the audit and inventory assessment exercise to be carried out by LASIMRA would be limited to numerical (verification of number of infrastructure) including a safety assessment of the infrastructure. LASIMRA would provide the scope of the safety component to the Commission and the operators (ALTON);
- That issues bordering on technical specifications for telecommunications infrastructure is entirely the sole responsibility of the NCC and not within the purview of any other agency including LASIMRA;
- That the current rate charged for permits as contained in the 2014 agreement should still be operative until 2019. Where there is a need to review, LASIMRA should call operators/ALTON for negotiation;
- Regarding the cables that were not properly laid, especially the flying cable on poles, LASIMRA would provide ducts or alternative shortest routes to enable operators lay the cables properly;
The Commission has since reconfirmed these resolution to the parties concerned for implementation.