By Emma Okonji
The President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola has urged the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umaru Garba Danbatta, to quickly put measures in place that would stem the influx of unathorised mobile phones into the Nigerian telecoms market, in order to save the telecoms sector from undue competition.
Teniola, who made the call in Lagos during a special reception for Danbatta, organised by ATCON, said the call became necessary, following an increase in the influx of unauthorised mobile phones, otherwise known as counterfeit phones into the Nigerian telecoms market.
According to him, over 20 mobile phone brands with over 150 models of mobile phones, are currently in circulation without authorisation from the NCC, which constitutes about 10 per cent of the mobile phones in the country. He said stringent measures must be put in place to save the mobile phone market in Nigeria and as well address the issue of poor quality service, which he attributed to the effect of some substandard mobile phones that were smuggled into the country.
He however commended Danbatta for his commitment and exemplary leadership style in moving the telecoms industry several steps forward, since he assumed full responsibility as the EVC of NCC over a year ago. He commended Danbatta for the Commission’s Eight-Point Agenda, under his leadership, which is built on broadband development and penetration. He said in just one year in office, Danbatta was able to push broadband penetration from 10 per cent in 2015 to 14 per cent in 2016, as well as a tremendous push in mobile broadband penetration, which is currently put at 20.95 per cent, according to the recent statistics released by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) and the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Others who eulogised Danbatta at the special reception, include the Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya; the Vice President, Regulatory, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko; Chief Executive Officer, 21st Century Technologies, Mr. Wale Ajisebutu; the Managing Director, VDT Communications, Mr. Biodun Omoniyi; as well as the Nigeria Information Technology and Communications Reporters’ Association (NITRA), the umbrella body for ICT writers in Nigeria. While NITRA promised to continue to put its eagle eyes on the activities of Danbatta at NCC, in order to inform the public on the regulatory activities of NCC, being the telecoms industry regulator, others presented papers on the ‘Outlook of the Telecoms Industry in the next five years’.
Responding, Danbatta thanked ATCON for the reception accorded him, which he said, was a formal invitation to the telecoms industry, where he has featured prominently, when he was at the Digital Bridge Institute, and arm of NCC, that drives training and acquisition of telecoms skills.
He promised ATCON that he would look into the issue raised on influx of counterfeit mobile phones. According to him, NCC has a list of type-approved mobile phones that have been tested by the commission and approved for sale in the Nigerian telecoms market, insisting that every other brand of mobile phones that have not passed through NCC’s test, would be traced and mopped out of circulation.
Speaking on his eight-point agenda, which he said remained an agenda of the commission and the entire industry stakeholders, Danbatta said the commission was passionate at delivering every aspect of the agenda and that some successes have already been recorded in just one year of his administration as the EVC of NCC.