By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC Wednesday renewed its resolve to eliminate substandard and counterfeit handsets and other telecommunications devices across the country.
The NCC’s Head of Zonal Operations Department, Helen Obi reiterated the commission’s resolve at the stakeholders’ sensitization workshop on the hazardous effect of non-type approved handsets and impact on quality of service held in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.
Obi, who was represented by Principal Manager of the department, Olatubosun Olakisola stated that the workshop was organised to sensitize telecommunication consumers, particularly mobile phone users on the hazardous effects of non-type approved handsets and the negative impact on quality of service.
He said it was in response to public concern regarding the proliferation of non-type approved handsets and other terminal equipment in Nigeria market which has far-reaching consequences on the health, economy and environment that the Commission found it imperative to educate the general public on the menace of using non-type approved and substandard equipment.
As a responsible industry regulator, she said the Commission was committed to ensure that the consumers were not shortchanged but enjoy their stake in the telecom industry.
“As part of our enlightenment programme, we are here on a sensitization program to sensitize the public on the hazardous effects of having to use un-type approved devices and its impacts.
“We have a data base where the public can assess all type-approved handsets. We are talking about quality of service. Some of these handsets have to work with the network. We are talking about safety, protection to the network, protection of general public from all these dangerous equipments.”
In his presentation, a senior manager, in the technical Standards and network Integrity department of the Commission, Engr. Chukwuma Nwaiwu who warned Nigerians against patronizing substandard products said telecom consumers must be able to differentiate between counterfeits and substandard products when buying new products.
According to him, counterfeit products have negative effects on businesses; increase cyber security threats, digital privacy and negative reputation to original trademarks.
He also explained that non-type approved products can make privacy of consumer less guaranteed, make digital transactions vulnerable, reduce foreign direct investment, loss of revenue, exposure to health and safety risks as well as violation of consumers’ right.
‘‘What we have come here to do is to showcase what we do at NCC. There is a process that is called equipment type-approval process. What that requires is that we at NCC ensure that every telecom device in the market are type-approved.
‘‘We go through a process to ascertain if products are up to the required standard, once we confirm that we publish it on our website.
‘‘We advise the general public to always check if devices they buy are type-approved before buying. We have all type-approved devices and models on our website.’’
On what the Commission is doing, Nwaiwu said, ‘‘we have an enforcement unit we partner with, they send us details of device from the market for us to check if they are type-approved.