The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it will soon eliminate the use of substandard mobile devices in the country.
It frowned at the importation and marketing of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) devices, saying approved phone list are on its website.
NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Nnamadi Nwokike, said this in a statement released in Abuja.
Nwokije said that the NCC was worried by the continuous proliferation of substandard mobile phones and devices in the country, had again advised telecom consumers to eschew patronage and usage of counterfeit handsets and other substandard mobile devices.
He said that the commission made its position known at a one-day event tagged: “Sensitisation Programme on Hazardous Effect of Non-type Approved Handsets and Impact on Quality of Service and E-waste”, held at Paiko, Niger State, recently.
According to him, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, while addressing participants at the event said the 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.
He said the programme was also to educate the participants on the negative effect of also using other Information and Communication Technology (ICT) devices in the country.
The programme also featured questions and answers between the consumers and the regulator.
According to Danbatta, who was represented by Director, Zonal Operations Department at NCC, Mrs Amina Shehu, said the programme was designed by the commission to educate and enlighten the masses on the need to use type-approved handsets.
“And the benefits of using such equipment which includes better quality of service (QoS), network integrity and safety of the end-users.”
Danbatta who frowned at the proliferation of counterfeit handsets in the country, said the menace of counterfeit and substandard handsets has assumed a global dimension.
He said the proliferation of counterfeit handsets require a lot of education on the part of the consumers and the collaboration with other government agencies to address it.
He also enjoined telecoms consumers to check the commission’s official website to find the list of type-approved phones from which they can make choices of handsets to purchase.
“Cases of influx and patronage of counterfeit handsets are more rampant in developing countries, such as Nigeria where importers bring in substandard phones.
“Without recourse to regulatory type-approval process aimed at certifying such devices as fit for the market,” she noted.
He said NCC was empowered by the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, Section 132, to establish and enforce standards for all telecommunications equipment in operation in the country to ensure that they operate seamlessly and safely within the Nigerian telecommunications environment.
As such, all equipment manufacturers, vendors and operators, including customer devices such as mobile phones and wireless adapters, must therefore ensure that their equipment conform to the applicable standards as mandated by the commission before bringing them into Nigeria.
The NCC boss said that the commission was also saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that consumer enjoys his or her stake in the telecommunications industry.
He further said that the commission, in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and other government agencies, recently inaugurated two committees to design modalities towards curbing the proliferation of substandard handsets in the country.
According to him, the commission has developed regulations on electronic waste (e-waste) as another regulatory instrument.
“Which among others, aim at providing regulatory framework for the management and control of e-waste in the telecommunications industry, all in line with Section 132 of the NCA, 2003’’.
Speaking on behalf of telecoms consumers and participants at the event, the Hakimi of Paiko, Alhaji Mansur Mustapha, commended the commission for bringing such programme to the community.
He, however, complained of poor network services and unsolicited text messages they receive from telecom operators.
He said they still get unsolicited messages and urged the commission to provide necessary responses, especially on the need to activate the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code to stop unsolicited text messages.