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NCC suspends operators’ licences over call masking


NCC Building

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday suspended the licenses of operators involved in call masking and refilling.

NCC also cautioned some operators and barred no fewer than 750,000 numbers assigned to several Private Network Links (PNL) and Local Exchange Operator (LEO) licensees, which number ranges were used for masking and refilling.

Technically, call masking and refilling refer to attempts by callers to hide their true numbers when making calls, especially international calls which are not charged, because the caller’s identity is completely hidden in the network.

The NCC had earlier cautioned that six telecommunications operators might lose their operational licences for involving in call masking and refilling, in spite of repeated warnings.

The operators include: Medallion Communications Limited, Interconnect Clearing House Nigeria Limited, Niconnx Communications Limited, Breeze Micro Limited, Solid Interconnectivity and Exchange Telecommunications Limited.

Its Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, said the commission suspended the Interconnect Clearing House license issued to Medallion Communications for 90 days and issued a strong warning to Interconnect Clearing House.

NCC also announced the disconnection of Information Connectivity Solutions Limited (ICSL) and Solid Interconnectivity Services Limited from all networks, until they regularise their operations.

The Commission also issued letters to Exchange Telecoms Limited, Niconnx Limited and Breeze Micro Limited, warning them against engaging in the practice.

It said its investigations and subsequent sanctioning came because it was inundated with complaints from service providers and consumers regarding the high incidence of call masking, refilling and SIM-Boxing.

According to the NCC, complaints generally involved disguising international calls as local calls in order to profit from price differentials between international and local calls.

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