The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) team was in attendance at the just concluded 86th Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja, Nigeria on Thursday 13th December, 2018 with the theme “Overcoming Challenges of Call Masking/Refilling: Task Ahead for the Telecom Industry”.

Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, NCC Director Consumer Affairs Bureau delivered the welcome address and stated that the 86th Parliament provided an avenue for face to face encounter with the public and Stakeholders in the telecom industry.

Mr. Sunday Dare, the Executive Commissioner Stakeholders Management who represented Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC NCC, noted that the Nigerian telecom industry loses about $60 billion dollars annually to call masking. Call Masking is described as a phenomenon whereby an international call is masked to appear as a local call on any GSM network in Nigeria. The EVC called on the public to report cases of call masking to NCC, promising that appropriate measures would be taken.

Barrister Ayoola Oke, a telecom consultant, made a presentation titled “Overcoming Challenges of Call Masking/ Refiling: Task ahead for the Telecom Industry”. He explained Call Masking/Refiling and highlighted the impact to the telecoms industry and the consumers. He noted that call masking had reduced by 21 percent as at August, 2018. Also, SIM Boxing Traffic has reduced by 25 percent as at September, 2018.

There was a panel of discussion among the Operators and NCC (the regulator), with input from various stakeholders of the industry, aimed at proffering solutions to the challenges being faced. The following resolutions were adopted to serve as counter- measures to Call Masking/ Refiling and SIM Boxing.

  • The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as the regulator and the Service Providers should continue to provide awareness of Call Masking and the challenges it poses.
  • Users should report issues relating to Call Masking to Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)
  • The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should investigate incidents, identify the perpetrators and take appropriate regulatory measures towards curbing the menace
  • The Service Providers and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should adopt more stringent measures to curb Call Masking/ Refiling
  • The regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should follow up on service providers to ensure compliance in the implementation of the resolutions

At the event, Nigerians were informed that Nigeria has exceeded the 30% broadband target and has recorded 30.9% penetration target thus far. Also we were informed that NCC has recorded a base of 109 Million Internet  Subscribers and 59 Million broadband service subscribers.

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