NCC approves online sim swap in new regulatory guideline

nokia 520The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC says it has approved Online Sim Replacement (OSR) in the new draft for Sim Replacement Guidelines.

The Head of Legal services in the Commission, Mrs. Akintoye Yetunde, stated this on Tuesday at the Public Inquiries on the draft Enforcement Processes and Sim replacement guideline held in Abuja.

She said the draft Sim Replacement Guidelines aimed at creating and providing a seamless, effective and efficient procedure for Sim replacement in Nigeria.

Also she said the intention was to ensure a secure process for Sim replacement and curtail the incidents of fraudulent replacements which have now become rampant in the industry.

Yetunde further explained that the OSR can only be carried out either through the National Service Providers’ (NSPs) website or self-service terminal.

According to her, the NSPs are expected to create on their websites platforms where subscribers can login to carry out Sim Replacement using a unique identification and PIN issued by the NSP.

The subscriber, she said would however, be required to purchase a new Sim card to which the information of the old Sim card would be transferred.

To activate the sim, the NCC’s head legal unit said, a replaced sim must be activated within two hours once the verification of subscriber information had been carried out.
She however warned that the NSPs shall be held liable for any Sim replacement carried out in violation of the guidelines or done fraudulently by its agent or dealer.

As part of measures to ensure the credibility of the system, she said the NSPs under the new guidelines are expected to carry out quarterly audit of sim replacement transactions carried out by both its staff and agents and a report forwarded to the Commission.

Earlier in his address, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah explained that the exercise was part of the Commission’s rule making process aimed at ensuring wide consultation in the development of regulatory instruments by the Commission in accordance with the Nigerian communications Act.

The EVC said the guideline had undoubtedly proved to be invaluable in ensuring that the opinions and inputs of stakeholders are considered in developing a sound regulatory framework for the Nigerian telecommunications industry.

Juwah noted that the draft enforcement regulations which formed the second segment of the public inquiry was an amendment of the previous regulations issued to the industry in 2005.
He also said the regulation was amended to reflect best practices in the industry.

The regulation when finalized will provide a more robust framework for efficient processes for carrying out enforcement in the industry.

According to the Commission, the regulations and guidelines will complement the Act and the respective Licenses by the Commission in addition to providing guiding standards and principles for enforcement processes and Sim replacements in the industry.

‘‘This effort by the commission will further ensure that the industry adopts international best practices while taking into consideration our peculiar operating environment,’’ said the EVC.
Meanwhile, the Commission has rejected sim replacement via phone calls.
Requirments for sim replacement includes: the sim must have been registered in accordance with the registration of telephone subscribers regulations 2001; subscribers must fill a standard form; a valid photo identification; three most frequently called numbers; last recharge on the sim and the sim park.

According to the Commission, the reason was to forestall possible abuse of the process by fraudsters but promised to review the decision in future.

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