Subscribers storm centres as telcos begin SIM update

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Mobile Network Operators in the country have begun updating of Subscriber Identity Module cards at their customer contact centres.

Findings showed that subscribers were being asked to visit their nearest network provider’s office with a valid identity to update their personal information.

In the early hours of Wednesday, subscribers stormed registration centres for the record update to avoid disconnection as threatened by their network providers.

However, many expressed shock at the directive as they claimed to have registered their SIM cards three times previously.

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One visibly angry MTN subscriber, Mr Kayode Thomas, who recalled that the previous registration was tedious, said he was not going through the same process again.

Thomas, a librarian, said he had no time to spare for the process anymore.

Another MTN subscriber, who identified herself simply as Augustina, said she met all the requirements for SIM registration in the previous exercises, asking what other information the operator needed.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission has explained that the second phase of its SIM registration was to verify information in its database and ensure a clean and credible SIM registration database.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said in a statement issued on Wednesday that the exercise was to ensure that all SIM cards could be traced to their real owners.

According to him, the aim of the audit is to monitor operators’ strict adherence to the specifications for the subscriber registration as prescribed by the NCC’s Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations of 2011 and the Technical Standards and Specifications.

The commission stated that the audit was without prejudice to the ongoing backend verification and scrubbing of SIM registration data already submitted to the commission by MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9Mobile and Ntel.

 The subscribers’ registration database, according to the NCC boss, is a useful tool being used by security and law enforcement agencies in the detection and apprehension of criminal elements involved in heinous crimes like kidnapping, financial crimes, armed robberies, banditry, cattle rustling and other crimes which leverage on easy access to the national telecoms network.

Danbatta said that the commission was working in partnership with the NIMC and other stakeholders to ensure that the database was credible.

He said, “We are determined to deliver one-single, credible national citizen identity database which is sorely required to fast-track the attainment of the Federal Government’s national security and reform agenda.”

Danbatta said during the audit, there would be no disruption of service to consumers who had genuinely registered their SIMs, saying that the exercise had been designed to ensure compliance at measured intervals using very professional tools and standards.

He said, “Our objectives are to carry our quality assurance on the integrity of all aspects of the subscriber registration process and to demonstrate zero tolerance for any deviation from laid-down processes by any industry player, no matter how seemingly minor.

“Our expectations are very high indeed, considering the national security and socio-economic implications of the Subscriber Registration Database.”

The NCC boss assured stakeholders of the commission’s commitment to continue to enhance national security objectives, consumer protection, and zero tolerance for registration related infractions.

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