The Nigerian Communications Commission says it will soon begin auditing the process of Subscriber Identification Module registration adopted by mobile telecommunications operators including MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Globacom, Airtel, 9Mobile and Ntel.
A statement issued by the telecommunications regulatory body in Abuja on Thursday said the exercise was to provide further assurance on the integrity of its SIM registration database, adding that it would be carried out across all Mobile Network Operator platforms.
NCC said in the statement, “The audit is specifically to monitor operators’ strict adherence to the technical and other specifications for the subscriber registration as prescribed by the NCC’s Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations of 2011 and the Technical Standards and Specifications issued by the commission in 2011 and subsequently thereafter.”
It added that the audit was without prejudice to the on-going ‘backend verification and scrubbing’ of SIM registration data already submitted to the commission by MNOs such as MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9Mobile and Ntel.
The statement quoted the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, to have noted that the verification exercise was a continuation of the NCC’s consistent regulatory interventions to ensure a clean and credible SIM registration database.
Danbatta said, “The NCC is very sensitive to the fact that the subscriber registration database is a veritable tool being used by security and law enforcement agencies in the detection and apprehension of criminal elements involved in heinous crimes like kidnapping, financial crimes, armed robberies, banditry, cattle rustling and other crimes which leverage easy access to the national telecoms network. As such, we are determined to continue to ensure that all SIM cards are traceable to their real owners with the least effort.
“Currently, verification and scrubbing of SIM Registration data is on-going. This is to ensure the integrity of the data submitted to the commission by the MNOs, before we feed the cleaned-up data to the central database warehoused by NIMC.
“The audit is a natural next step to ensure that not only are the data already submitted fully compliant, but that operators maintain the highest standards of registration practices across all their touch-points so that the subscriber data they are collecting continue to serve the national security and other interests for which subscriber registration was mandated.”
Danbatta added, “Everything we are doing is in accordance with global best practice – verification and audits are continuous exercises, which the commission has been engaging in since 2011 when subscriber registration formally commenced in Nigeria.
“Our objectives are to carry our quality assurance on the integrity of all aspects of the subscriber registration process and to demonstrate zero tolerance for any deviation from laid-down processes by any industry player, no matter how seemingly minor. Our expectations are very high indeed, considering the national security and socio-economic implications of the subscriber registration database.