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NCC Gives Report On SIM Replacement, Fresh Instructions To Network Providers

The commission against a backdrop of complaints from customers conducted an audit exercise in reducing instances of fraudulent SIM upgrade.

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has given a quarterly report on network providers’ compliance to guidelines on Subscriber Identification Number (SIM) Replacement.

The commission against a backdrop of complaints from customers conducted an audit exercise in reducing instances of fraudulent SIM upgrade and replacement which accounted for financial loss and security breaches in the country.

The audit exercise on Subscriber Identification Number (SIM) Replacement Guidelines in the Nigerian Telecoms Industry took place against the background of the prevalence of complaints regarding illegal SIM Swap by fraudulent individuals in the telecoms market. The Commission had established a Guideline for SIM Replacement which came into effect on 9th June 2017.

NCC after the exercise ordered the Network Operators to ensure the fields for inputting Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number (MSISDN) or SIM number in porting request forms are only 10 digits. In addition, MNOs should educate and train front-end staff to ensure the correct donor network and MSISDN are specified before details are sent to NPC.

The statement made available to DAILY POST read in part: “In Q1, 2019 the audit exercise on Subscriber Identification Number (SIM) Replacement Guidelines in the Nigerian Telecoms Industry took place against the background of prevalence of complaints regarding illegal SIM Swap by fraudulent individuals in the telecoms market. The Commission had established a Guideline for SIM Replacement which came into effect on 9th June, 2017. Consistent with NCC mandate as enshrined in Section 89 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, the Commission prepared a quarterly audit exercise of MNOs’ platforms with a view to ascertaining the level of compliance with the Commission’s Guideline on SIM Replacement.

“Consistent with the NCC mandate as enshrined in Section 89 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, the Commission prepared a quarterly audit exercise of MNOs’ platforms with a view to ascertaining the level of compliance with the Commission’s Guideline on SIM Replacement.

“Requirements and procedures were outlined by the Commission to safeguard subscriber’s identity from fraudulent activities of some criminal elements in the telecoms sector. The audit exercise was considered very critical in reducing instances of fraudulent SIM upgrade and replacement which accounted for financial loss and security breaches in the country. The appropriate departments of NCC are currently working on processes to address and manage the findings from the audit exercise in a manner that will quantifiably address the challenges of fraud around SIM cards.

NCC, after the exercise, ordered the network providers to; i. Review the level of success National Porting Clearinghouse(NPC)’s migration of the MNP Platform to its new technical partners, Porting Access Ltd;

ii. Conduct an in-depth review of planned and unplanned technical faults that occurred within the period under review;

3 iii. Audit ‘Validation Responses (T2) & Deactivation Responses (T4)’ which have timelines of 2 hours and 1 hour respectively for the period under review;

iv. Review all porting rejections by the donor to ensure that these rejections are justifiable in the context of MNP Business Rules;

v. Review the current status of outstanding MNP fees owed to the NPC administrator by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs);

vi. Review all emergency repatriations and ‘Return to Block Operator’ transactions for the past 5 months (October 2018 – February,
2019).

B. Key Actions Taken

Based on the findings of the audit exercise, the Commission directed Mobile Network Operators to carry out the following:

I. Mobile Network Operators should ensure the fields for inputting Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number (MSISDN) or SIM number in porting request forms are only 10 digits. In addition, MNOs should educate and train front-end staff to ensure the correct donor network and MSISDN are specified before details are sent to NPC;

II. That the MNP Industry Technical Working Group will discuss and impose a 45 day port restriction period for newly activated SIM
cards;

4 III. That Mobile Network Operators henceforth strictly comply with the conditions for ‘Emergency Repatriations’ and ‘Return to Block Operator’ in line with Provisions of the MNP Business Rules, as well as the consequences for non-compliance;

IV. That Mobile Network Operators remove the power to carry out ‘Emergency Repatriations’ and ‘Return to Block Operator’ from their front end agents to mitigate the emerging trend of abuse of laid down processes and procedures; In view of the relatively low amount of porting transactions, the Commission will carry out robust awareness campaigns to enlighten consumers on the availability of Mobile Number Portability.”



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