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Consumer Safety: Nigerian telecoms regulator lists 2,155 approved phone brands, models

*The Nigerian Communications Commission has granted  approval for the sale of 2,155 phone brands and models in a move to guard against substandard or counterfeit products posing potential risks to consumers in the country’s telecoms ecosystem

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In continuation of the telecoms sector regulator’s consumer protection initiatives against the menace of counterfeit and substandard mobile phones and gadgets, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted approval for the sale of 2,155 phone brands and models in the country as of July 2023.

ConsumerConnect reports the Commission has approved the mobile devices in several brands and models that have successfully met the rigorous “type approval standards” qualifying them for sale to consumers in Nigeria.

It is recalled the NCC recently warned telecoms  consumers and dealers against buying and selling non-type approval mobile phones and devices for safety.

It is also noted that in April 2023, the number of NCC-approved phones has risen from 2,112 to 2,155, indicating the authorisation of 43 new phone models within the past three months.

Report also indicates that Chinese mobile manufacturers have continued to hold a significant share of the mobile market in terms of approved devices in the West African country.

Brands under the Transsion Group, namely Tecno, Infinix, and iTel, have secured approval for a combined total of 545 phone models for sale in Nigeria.

This constitutes considerable 25 percent of the total NCC-approved phones available on the market, a report stated.

How proliferation of handsets poses risks to telecoms consumers: NCC

In regard to the danger of buying or dealing in non-type approved phones and other devices flooding the Nigerian market, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC,  recently cautioned consumers against purchasing any phones that lack certification from the telecoms sector regulator.

However, despite regulatory efforts, all manner of unapproved phone brands continue to be sold across the country.

While the allure of cheaper prices drives the sales of unapproved phones, these devices often prove to be sub-standard or counterfeit, posing potential risks to consumers.

On the proliferation of counterfeit handsets, Prof. Danbatta reportedly hinted at collaboration with other regulatory agencies, just as consumer education and sensitisation is vital to tackling this challenge in the country’s telecoms ecosystem.

The EVC/CEO of the Commission stated: “The menace of counterfeit and substandard handsets has assumed a global dimension, and requires a lot of education on the part of the consumers and collaboration with other government agencies to address it.

“Cases of influx and patronage of counterfeit handsets are more rampant in developing countries, such as Nigeria, where importers bring in substandard phones without recourse to the regulatory type-approval process aimed at certifying such devices as fit for the market.”

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