Notwithstanding the last minute-rush by defaulting subscribers to get their SIM cards registered; many subscribers had their lines deactivated at the June 30 2013 deadline.
Despite their outcry however, the telecoms regulator, NCC says there will be no reprieve for disconnected subscribers.
Some of the affected subscribers are more enraged because they had earlier registered their SIM cards before starting getting text messages from their respective networks regarding ‘unregistered status’ of their lines.
However, the NCC has described the complaints and protests as effort in futility because it would only amount to dragging both the commission and telecom development in Nigeria backwards.
Head of NCC’s Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Department, Engr. Maska Ubale, specifically stated that “every contract must come to an end otherwise it is no longer a contract at all. It will not only seem unthinkable but also inconsistency on the part of the commission to now consider anything otherwise, after the length of time given to telecoms consumers to register their SIMs. We can not move the contract terminal date any more; we did that on several occasions in the last two years.”
“By putting an end to the exercise last month, the Commission was of the opinion that even subscribers must act with responsibility and obey the laws of the land, at least, by doing simple SIM registration, observing that every attendant issue must have been sorted.”
He also noted that, “the Commission also realises that obedience to law by the various stakeholders such as telecoms consumers, operators, the Commission and government, is one reason the country’s telecom sector has witnessed exponential growth in the past decade, and does not want to compromise this positive development the sector has attracted to Nigeria.”
He argued that even the operators, who earlier pleaded for additional three months extension to the exercise, as against the June 30 deadline, have expressed appreciation on the latitude given the exercise and the overriding importance of bringing it to a close.
Although, SIM registration is going to be a continuous process, as operators are expected to continue to re-register the deactivated SIM cards as well as new ones, experts have advised that a proper collaboration must exist between the network operators and the NCC, especially in transmitting the new SIM data collected to the regulator.
A source at the Commission, however, disclosed that the regulator was already putting strategic plans in place to get new SIM data collected by the operators on a regular basis.
According to the source, “henceforth, details of registration of new lines, biometrics and other personal information would be sent to by the operators to the Commission on weekly basis for entry into Central database.”
It was also learnt that the Enforcement Unit of the NCC, which is at the centre of operations, is already out to ensure full compliance.
“The Commission has taken a decision which it will enforce to the letter to achieve stated objectives, that could have positive impact on the country.”