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NCC approves national roaming service for telecoms operators

By Adeyemi Adepetun (Lagos) and Murtala Adewale (Kano)
26 October 2020   |   4:09 am
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has approved two mobile network operators (MNOs) for trial of National Roaming Service for three months from August 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

Declares Kano as hub of unregistered SIMs, cautions subscribers
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has approved two mobile network operators (MNOs) for trial of National Roaming Service for three months from August 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

The two telecoms com panies are Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) Nigeria and Emerging Markets Telecommunication Service Limited (EMTS), trading as 9Mobile in Nigeria.

With the approval, EMTS and MTN are expected to configure their networks to begin testing and simulation for customer experience. The trial approval covers some local government areas, designated as the National Roaming geographic area in Ondo State.

Roaming Service enables a mobile subscriber to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services when travelling outside a particular network geographical area by using the network coverage of other networks with roaming arrangements to access service.

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, said the primary objective of the National Roaming Service trial was to encourage network resource sharing among operators.

A statement issued by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, yesterday, quoted Danbatta as saying that the move would lead to operational expenditure (OPEX) optimisation and capital expenditure (CAPEX) efficiency.

It would free up resources to expand mobile network coverage to unserved and underserved communities across the country, which would ultimately improve Quality of Service (QoS) delivery to subscribers.

“The successful implementation of the trial will enable EMTS subscribers to access MTN network service within the National Roaming trial geographical area without an MTN Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card,” Danbatta said.

Also, the 2019 Subscriber Network Data Report showed that total outgoing and incoming mobile roaming minutes, as at December 2019 for the mobile operators was 89, 449, 021 and 60,583, 648 minutes respectively.

The report showed that MTN posted the highest incoming and outgoing minutes of 41, 587,485 and 80,721,676, which amounted to 122, 309,161 minutes.

Globacom had 1, 947,583 outgoing roaming minutes, while 8,382,761 were incoming with 10,330,344 minutes. Airtel recorded 10,362,539 roaming minutes with 2,344,703 outgoing and 8,017,836 incoming.

For EMTS, the outgoing roaming minutes totaled 4,435,058, while incoming was 2,595,566, amounting 7,030,625 roaming minutes.

MEANWHILE, the NCC cautioned subscribers of telecom networks against purchase and activation of unregistered SIM cards on their mobile phones, declaring that it was a threat to personal safety and national security.

Danbatta, who gave the warning at the weekend while briefing journalists in Kano, lamented the recent proliferation of crime across the country with Kano fast becoming a hotbed.

He explained that another syndicate found in possession of hundreds of unregistered SIM cards in Kano had been arrested, maintaining that the commission had deepened its intelligent to capture such syndicates.

He stressed that there were legal implications and penalty for service providers that failed to deactivate unregistered SIM in their networks.