NCC moves to disconnect fake, stolen phones from networks

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is finalising plans to disconnect fake and counterfeit phones from all networks in the country. This will be implemented through the deployment of Device Management System (DMS), a technology solution that will also allow the telecoms regulator to disconnect any phone flagged as stolen.

The regulator will be leveraging the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI), which is the unique number for each device, which is registered the moment a phone is connected, to achieve this.

According to the Information Memorandum (IM) on the project, the DMS solution will enable the NCC to monitor, manage and secure the telecommunications sector in the country. It will also provide a single control point for comprehensive device management for mobile and network devices.

While the process has commenced, the NCC notes that the final implementation of the project has to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

What the NCC is saying

Explaining the rationale for the deployment of the solution in Nigeria, NCC said: “A considerable number of counterfeit ICT devices have found their way into global markets, including in Nigeria. The proliferation of these devices is raising concerns about national security, performance, quality of service delivery and potential revenue losses for all stakeholders,”.

“This has led to the call by ITU Member States, particularly those in developing countries to address the issue, especially its negative effects and to study the impact of measures taken to address it. Counterfeit mobile devices pose security and health risks to the consumer as well as economic risks to the brand that is being counterfeited. In the background of Boko Haram in Nigeria and other terrorist groups using cloned cell phones, many key security concerns relating to counterfeit electronic devices arise,” the Commission explained

What you should know

  • The DMS is a type of central remote management software used to monitor, manage, and secure mobile devices that are deployed across the various mobile service providers, and across the various mobile operating systems in a country.
  • The DMS system will create a single window for telecom devices enabling the NCC to proactively identify illegitimate or substandard devices that are not permitted on the Nigerian telecommunications network.
  • The NCC intends to achieve the deployment of this DMS system using a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. In this arrangement, the private partner will establish, operate, and manage a DMS for the estimated 200 million telecommunications subscribers in Nigeria.
  • The DMS is expected to have the capability to address the proliferation of fake, counterfeit, substandard, and cloned mobile devices in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.
  • The DMS will enable NCC to collect International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) data and integrate it into NCC’s type approval process, so that stolen, illegal mobile phones and other smart devices are blacklisted and rendered inoperable. This solution is expected to reduce mobile phone theft, protect consumers’ interests, and enhance national security.

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