July 8, 2019

NCC warns against use of substandard phones, counterfeit devices

USSD: Banks owe telcos N17bn, says Danbatta


By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has raised the alarm over the increasing patronage of substandard mobile phones and other telecom devices in the country.



The Commission said the warning became necessary to guide unsuspecting users against the inherent dangers in using such outlawed devices infiltrating the market.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, gave the warning during a sensitization workshop in Bwari Area Council, FCT Abuja, tagged: “Stakeholders Sensitization Workshop on the Hazardous Effect of Non-type Approved Handsets and Impact on Quality of Service and e-waste”.

He said the sensitization programme was part of the Commission’s deliberate move to educate and create awareness on the hazardous health effects and negative economic implications of the patronage of fake handsets and other Information and Communication Technology (ICT) devices in the country.

Prof. Danbatta who was represented at the event by Director, Zonal Prof. Operations Department at NCC, Mrs. Amina Shehu, said the Commission is empowered by the Nigerian Communications Act to establish and enforce standards for all telecommunications equipment in operation in Nigeria to ensure that they operate seamlessly and safely within Nigerian.

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He explained that the menace of counterfeit and substandard handsets has assumed a worrisome dimension as well as global dimension which require a lot of education on the part of the consumers and the collaboration with other government agencies to address it.

While lamenting the danger and cost of using fake handsets, he advised all telecoms subscribers to ‘‘check the Commission’s official website to find the list of type-approved phones from which they can make their choices of handsets to purchase.’’

He said, “As we all know, sub-standard, counterfeit or non-type approved handsets are a global menace and much more severe in the third world and developing economies. In Nigeria, as in other developing countries, this problem has been very challenging because of its large population and market size that make such markets very attractive to marketers of non-type approved handsets”.

He averred that  NCC is empowered by the Nigeria Communications Act 2003 section 132 to carry out Type Approval of all Communications equipment for use in Nigeria.

According to him  NCC is set  to form a coalition of forces in a renewed strategic partnership with all the marketers of handsets in the sector, to contain the menace.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is now undertaking an initiative at the regional level in collaboration with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), West African Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly (WATRA) and Mobile and Wireless Forum (MWF) to form a regional synergy in developing a framework for combating counterfeiting of ICT Devices in the African sub-region.

“The Commission is collaborating with other national stakeholders such as Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SO), Nigerian Customs Services, Law  enforcement agencies and environmental regulatory agencies,”

Earlier in his presentation, Manager Technical standards and network integrity, Engr. Kuke Olorundare urged  subscribers to stay away from substandard phones for better use and optimal quality of service.

Some participants at the event, expressed joy for the sensitization programme and called on the NCC to set up a code which will enable consumers to confirm if a handset is type approved  by simply sending text to such designated code for verification.