One naughty issue that has been causing a lot of discomfort in the telecom sector for some time now, is the issue of Call Masking.
In this concluding piece on the reminiscence of the regulatory activities of the Nigerian Communications Commission in 2019, what the Commission was able to do, under the remarkable leadership of Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC, to stem the tide of call masking will be reviewed.
It will be recalled that, in 2018, reports showed, that Nigeria lost over $3billion, or, N1.06 trillion, to call masking and other related infractions, in the telecoms industry!
This unhealthy issue has also robbed the government and telecoms companies, of some huge revenue that would have served, a course or two, in the development of the country.
To, effectively, eradicate the issue of call masking, the Commission, in 2019, directed, all the telcos, to deploy technology solution, across their networks and once this measure was taken, cases of call-masking, began to reduce, drastically.
NCC further initiated a series of actions and regulatory measures that were geared, towards curbing the menace of call masking.
These swift initiations include:
- Strict compliance monitoring and enforcement by the Commission.
- Imposition of appropriate sanctions, by the Commission, on licensees, involved in call refiling and masking activities;
- Suspension of numbering plans, of some perpetrators and withdrawal of all their inactive numbering plans.
During a parley, with the media, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, stated that, other measures taken in this regard, include the continuous sensitisation of consumers and other industry stakeholders, on the dangers of call masking, which is still ongoing; the development and institution of new reporting requirements, on interconnecting licensees that makes it easy and seamless, to quickly identify perpetrators of call masking.
To, effectively, curb this growing concern, a technological solution was deployed, by the telecoms companies, which has now helped in monitoring, reporting, apprehending and blocking SIMs, being used for SIM boxing activities and prevent SIM lines, from being used for call masking activities.
With this smart decision, taken by the Commission, the growing menace of call masking was, effectively, resolved.
In another development, in 2019, the NCC’s Head Office Annex at Mbora, Abuja, was revived and put to use, after so many years of being left unattended.
The Annex, located at 1253 Cadastral Zone, Mbora District, Abuja, was completed in 2019, to the delight of everyone.
It is, a five – storey building that is meant to serve, as a complimentary location, to decongest the Head Office Building of the Commission, located at Maitama District, Abuja for effective regulatory operations.
Besides providing nearly a hundred-room office accommodation, it was built with facilities, such as a swimming pool, lawn tennis courts, underground car parks and a 600-seater auditorium, for conferences and seminars.
Five departments of the Commission were moved to the new building, now called NCC Head Office Annex, in 2019.
The world-class facilities available, at the NCC Annex, have seen an improvement, in the operational efficiency of the Commission.
Going forward, it is expected that the 600-seater auditorium within the new building, will be hosting many of the Commissions activities, in an effort at saving costs.
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