Atinuke Tokura /TnTv Network
Call masking is a process where international calls appear as local calls. This poses serious threat to the telecom industry. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the Nigerian telecom industry loses millions annually to call masking.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta who was represented by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr Sunday dare says globally $54-$60 is lost to call masking.
Cross section of parliamentarians at the 86th Edition of NCC’s Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP)
He however hinted that the Commission is taking proactive measures to manage the situation.
He said: “We don’t have the exact figures for Nigeria but globally $54-$60 is lost to call masking. Which shows that it is a global menace which is not specific to Nigeria and it is possible because of innovative technology that is available. We talk about the VIOP which is Voice Over Internet Protocol, we talk about the OTT; Over The Top platforms where you do WhatsApp and all other video calls. These are innovations and technologies that allows for some of this to happen.
Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management Mr Sunday Dare
“But we are happy to say for the last eight months, the NCC took very proactive measures, through investigations, we worked with our taskforce to have been able to reduce the incidence of sim boxing in this country by 34%. “When you look at the roadmap so far, 2016, it started, in 2017, we started investigations. We moved from reducing it to 24% to 34%. I think the most critical point is; we have tried to look for a technological solution to solve what is a slight technical problem. As I speak. now we have found a solution after the prove of concept. That solution has been tried in Lagos South West and about nine people have been arrested in the basement of a house and a few cars in which you have the boxes in their booths. We have tried that concept, it is working and we hope to launch it in January. If it is launched in January; I can assure Nigerians that before the end of 2019, we would have had 80% reduction in call masking,” he explained.
The EVC then called on the public to report any case of call masking to NCC, promising that appropriate measures would be taken against such persons. According to him, arrests had been made using tracker saying that the accused will be prosecuted and treated as criminal offence, adding that Nigeria has currently over 165 Million telecom subscribers. He also said that the Commission is committed to addressing complaints of subscribers.
Mrs Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, the Director, Consumer Affair Bureau earlier in her speach stated that the forum allows for face to face encounter with the public and Stakeholders in the telecom industry and the theme is aimed at ensuring national security and a level playing ground for all telecom licensees.