Telecom subscribers not required to submit phone IMEI numbers ─NCC

*The Nigerian Communications Commission advises telecom consumers and the general public to disregard misleading publications saying that subscribers will be required to register their phone International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers with their networks in the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Restating the regulatory agency has not issued such an announcement, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said that it does not require the Nigerian telecom consumers to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of their phones with effect from July, 2021.

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs of NCC, in a statement Friday, May 21 clarified “at no time did the Commission issue a statement regarding the registration of IMEI by subscribers and it has no plans to do so.”

ConsumerConnect reports the International Mobile Equipment Identity number “is a unique identification or serial number that all mobile phones and smartphones have. It is normally 15 digits long. The IMEI number can be found on the silver sticker on the back of your phone, under the battery pack, or on the box your phone came in.”

The Commission noted that some media reports in relation to the question have emanated from a section of the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari and which has been uploaded on the Commission’s Web site.

Dr. Adinde said: “It is pertinent to state that the Commission is in the process of deploying a Device Management System (DMS).

“The DMS will essentially protect subscribers against phone theft and will identify and enable the elimination of fake devices from the networks.”

According to him, the system will capture IMEI automatically without any requirement for subscribers to submit same.

Recall that barely two weeks after the Commission (NCC) said it had issued 54 million people their National Identification Numbers (NINs), it noted that is in the process of deploying a Device Management System (DMS).

The industry regulator said: “To curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance national security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce the rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices, one of the means to achieve this is through the deployment of Device Management System.”

The NCC also stated: “The implementation of a Centralised Equipment Identity Register otherwise known as Device Management System will serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity and owners of such devices.”

ConsumerConnect reports in spite of the Federal Government’s hinging the policy on fighting insecurity in the country, there are privacy concerns by individuals, businesses and organisations, that the government could easily abuse access to such subscribers’’ sensitive data.

However, the NCC has advised the general public to disregard the said publications, which it noted have created the erroneous impression that telecom subscribers will be required to register their phone IMEI numbers with their networks in Nigeria, added Adinde.

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