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NCC may withdraw licences of six operators over sharp practices

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About six operators risk losing their operating licences over call masking and refilling in the telecommunications industry. The affected operators were found to be using call masking and refilling to dump international traffic.

The affected operators queried by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), include Interconnect Clearing House Nigeria Limited; Medallion Communications Limited; Nicconx Communications Limited; Breeze Micro Limited; Solid Interconnectivity and Exchange Telecommunications limited.

A masked call happens when an international calling number (Caller Line Identity) is framed as a local number traffic. It is a deliberate attempt by the fraudster to avoid paying the correct International Termination Rate (ITR) for international calls, but to benefit by paying Local Termination Rate (LTR).

When a number is masked as a local call, the operator pays N3.90 LTR and not N24.40 ITR, the industry standard fee. The process allow operators to terminate inbound international telecoms traffic as local calls so they don’t have to pay ITR, which is the interconnection charges set by telecoms traffic carriers as carrier to carrier charges.

Call refilling on the other hand is a form of interconnect fraud in which a carrier tampers with caller-ID (CID) data to falsify the number from which a call originated before handing the call to a competitor.

Reacting to the issue, one of the affected operators, Medallion Communications, the Chief Executive Officer, Ikechukwu Nnamani, told The Guardian that the firm is not involved in such sharp practices.

“The NCC should beam its searchlight on the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). They are the ones involved in the menace.”

An official of one of the affected operators, blamed the commission for the lapses, saying “NCC needs to be more effective in its oversight function.’’

For us, we don’t mask calls neither do we do call refilling.



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