Mobile Network Operators and agents who violate the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) replacement policy are likely to face sanctions soon, according to a statement from the Nigerian Communications Commission.
According to the commission, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), their licensed agents, and telecom subscribers must always follow the SIM registration, activation, and replacement procedures outlined in the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Registration.
The NCC announced this at the 6th Telecom Consumer Town Hall on Radio (TCTHR) with the theme “Understanding SIM Replacement Procedures.”
The program aired live on Treasure FM 98.5 in Garden City, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with NCC officials and representatives from MNOs.
Operators must ensure full compliance while registering their clients, according to Efosa Idehen, Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC.
SIM card owners, according to Idehen, must be alert to ensure that their cards are correctly captured, whether for new SIM activation or SIM replacement.
He added, “As the telecom regulator in Nigeria, our role is to enforce compliance with the extant SIM activation and replacement procedures in order to avoid problems that may arise in the event of stolen, lost, damaged SIMs or the need to upgrade SIM cards.”
According to Idehen, not registering a SIM card has ramifications for both personal and national security.
He claimed that following the prescribed SIM replacement procedures will prevent identity theft, fraudulent SIM swaps, and other deceptive acts that can be carried out with a SIM card.
He said, “In accordance with the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Registration, all SIM replacements shall be undertaken by the service providers or their licensed agents in a controlled environment to eliminate the recurrent complaints of inconclusive SIM replacement procedures.”
Subscribers have been cheated by cyber fraudsters as a result of such situations, he said.
Idehen advised telecom customers to be careful of phony SIM registration agents posing as MNO employees with the purpose of defrauding unwary users.
He said, “One of the antics of such agents is to ask for the one-time password (OTP) forwarded to the consumer for activation of the SIM, especially after the SIM replacement process has been done.”
He warned telecom consumers to be wary of such scams.
Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, stated that the use of a National Identification Number (NIN) is required in addition to all other criteria stated in the SIM Replacement Guidelines.
Adinde, who was represented by Port Harcourt Zonal Controller Venny Eze-Nwabufoh, said that the provision for SIM registration is included in the Revised National Identity Policy.