By Emeka Aginam
For phone dealers in the Nigerian Silicon Valley, the Computer Village, Ikeja, GSM village and other markets across the country, it may not be business as usual as the regulatory agencies including the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and the phone and allied dealers association of Nigeria, have joined hands to sanitize telecoms market of unapproved telecom equipment.
Although importation of unapproved telecom equipment is not limited only to the Nigerian market, a close monitoring of market activities in the Computer Village, Ikeja and other markets where phones are sold in Nigeria showed that phones not Type approved by the NCC dominated the showroom.
Further checks also revealed that unwholesome activities of selling both refurbished and unapproved phones are not also limited to street traders in the Computer Village, Lagos where major dealers like Slots, Revive, Micros Station, among others.
Apart from selling well known phones like Nokia, Huawei, TECNO, Samsun, LG, BlackBerry, among others, Vanguard Hi-Tech checks have revealed that major phone dealers in the Nigerian ICT market also engage in the sale of unapproved phones which NCC has condemned in complete terms because of its health implication and effects in the quality of service delivery.
Worried with the ugly trend, the regulatory authority in partnership with the Nigerian Customs Service and Phone Dealers Association of Nigeria last week in Lagos organized a one day forum to sensitize end users again on the dangers of buying fake phones coming through grey market.
Warning phone dealers secure an approval for any type of communication equipment before importing them into the country during the forum, the Director of Technical Standard and Network Integrity of NCC, Dr, B.M Sani told the gathering that that equipment vendors, network operators original equipment manufacturers, any legitimate entity that has legal business in Nigerian telecoms market must comply with both local and international standards in relations to equipment Type approval.
Noting that the Commission would review fees for violating Type approved phones, he said that a person who sells or installs any communications equipment lor facilities without first obtaining the Commission’s Type approval test certificate therefore committed an offense and on conviction was liable to a fine not exceeding 100,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year to both such fine and imprisonment.
According to Sani, type approval is technical evaluation of equipment against prescribed specifications with the objective of determining its conformance to those specifications.
He further explained that Type Approval of telecom equipment is an administrative procedure of technical tests and vetting applied to items of telecoms equipment before they can be used for purposes of communications.
He said that Type Approval is based on manufacturer’s technical literature and test results from an independent accredited test laboratory
The main objective of equipment type approval, Sani explained was to ensure that Communication equipment intended for the Nigerian market have fully complied with Nigerian and international standards as it related to electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and specific absorption rate (SAR) for human safety and other regulatory key performance indicators for the promotion of better quality of service.
Adoption by international standards:
He said that adoption by international standards is an obligation under WTO’s code of practice requiring elimination of technical barriers to international trade.
Similarly, the Deputy Superintendent of the Nigerian Customs, NCS, Chinonso assured NCC that NCS would support by making sure that every phone imported into the country is type approved based on the regulation.