What You Need To Know About The New NCC Requirements For SIM Registration
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that before allowing a device to become active on their network, network providers will have to cross-check all phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and status on a proposed Centralized Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), also known as Device Management System (DMS). This is stated in the Commission’s revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration. According to the directive, the action would reduce the market for counterfeit mobile phones, deter mobile phone theft, improve national security, safeguard consumer interests, increase government revenue generation, lower the rate of kidnapping, reduce the use of stolen phones for crime, and make it easier to block or trace stolen mobile phones and other smart devices.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will be in charge of managing and implementing the DMS in order to fulfill the policy’s objectives in order to accomplish this. The creation of a Centralized Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), also known as a Device Management System (DMS), will act as a database for keeping track of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and owners of all registered mobile phones.
“All carriers and service providers will get IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal through the DMS.” The goal is to make sure that these gadgets won’t function even when other SIM cards are installed in them. The President, Muhammadu Buhari, has mandated “that the Device Management System shall be implemented within three months,” according to the publication of the Revised Policy. Any Nigerian who wishes to register a new SIM for a new device must comply with this requirement in order to avoid being unable to place calls, send texts, or access the internet other than through WiFi. Before permitting a device to become operational on their network, DMS will also give all operators access to cross-check the IMEIs and their status. Additionally, before providing their technical services, registered mobile phone technicians will have access to an interface to check IMEIs and make sure they haven’t been reported as stolen or illegal.
What is IMEI?
An international identity number used to specifically identify a mobile phone is the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. The mobile handset’s identification is revealed via the 15-digit IMEI number, which is broadcast each time a phone is used.
How can I find out my IMEI number?
IMEI numbers are independent of the phone number and are usually written underneath the battery or on the back of the handset. Mobile phone users can also check their 15-digit IMEI number by dialing *#06# on their mobile handset.
Should Nigerians express concern?
Yes! Although the IMEI can be used to reduce phone theft cases, the 15-digit number offers more power. A phone’s history and detailed information can be provided. It can give detailed information about a telephone and its history. This raises questions. not even now, when global data privacy concerns are on the rise. Any government agency that holds such information may misuse it. However, some smartphone manufacturers, such as Apple’s Find My and Samsung’s Find My Device, already have features to track lost phones.
What nation follows a similar approach?
Currently, Indonesia follows a similar approach. According to the Indonesia Cell Phone Association (APSI), nearly 20% of all active phones in the nation are sold on the black market, costing the government $190.4 million in annual mixed tax revenue. On April 18, 2020, the nation of Indonesia was supposed to implement IMEI control regulations.
What are NCC’s goals and objectives for the new SIM Card Registration rule?
The goal of the aforementioned project, according to its mission statement, is to “create a telecommunications sector with an efficient digital identity-based SIM card registration process that creates value and prosperity for all.” The mission of the aforementioned project, according to its mission statement, is to “create a telecommunications sector with an efficient digital identity-based SIM card registration process that creates value and prosperity for all.” The commission claimed that the new policy had been developed under the authority of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy in line with the following sections of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA 2003):
- Subsection 23(a): The Minister shall have the following responsibilities and functions pursuant to this Act— the formulation, determination and monitoring of the general policy for the communications sector in Nigeria with a view to ensuring, amongst others, the utilisation of the sector as a platform for the economic and social development of Nigeria; and
- Subsection 25(1): The Minister shall, in writing, from time to time, notify the Commission or express his views on the general policy direction of the Federal Government in respect of the communications sector.
Objectives of the Policy
The National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration has the following goals, according to NCC:
- to mitigate identity fraud and other online crimes; to reduce identity theft and other online criminal activity;
- to prevent mobile network operators and subscribers from abusing compliance;
- to create a customer identity that can be used for initiatives like Know Your Customers (KYC) that offer value-added services;
- to verify SIM card registration data, enabling it to be used as a digital identity for e-government and other value-added service subscriber authentication;
- to increase the reliability of the SIM card registration data and make it useful for use by security organizations in the prevention of crime;
- to serve as a catalyst for the rapid growth of the national identity database managed by NIMC;
- to facilitate efficient and secure SIM-NIN linkage processes and ensure adequate consultations and engagements are carried out for the successful and efficient implementation of the processes involved;
- to promote collaboration among all relevant stakeholders in achieving the mandatory SIM-NIN linkage exercise;
- to develop robust and reliable guidelines and secure processes for new SIM registrations, SIM replacements/swaps, Corporate Activations, and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) activations in a way that prevents and mitigates incidences of fraudulently registered SIM cards and associated SIM-related crimes;
- to develop guidelines for engagement/accreditation of dealers and agents that will conduct the transactions mentioned in (vii) above in a way that prevents fraudulent registration; to create policies for hiring / accrediting dealers and agents who will carry out the transactions listed in (vii) above in a manner that avoids fraudulent registration;
- to guarantee the security and dependability of the procedures implemented for the Mandatory SIM-NIN linkage;
- to ensure compliance with the NDPR in handling citizens’ data warehoused in all the institutions involved in achieving the Mandatory SIM-NIN linkage, and to ensure that the handling of citizens’ data stored in all the institutions involved in completing the Mandatory SIM-NIN linkage complies with the NDPR; and
Implementing a strong SIM Identity Management Solution will enable the Federal Government’s directive on the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) to be carried out effectively and will help keep the incidence of fraudulently registered SIMs (pre-registered SIMs) to a bare minimum.
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