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Subscribers berate FG for restricting Nigerians to three telephone lines

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Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers (ATCIS) has expressed displeasure with the recent call for review of the policy on telephone line registration and usage by Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

The review, among others, sought to restrict telecoms subscribers to a maximum of three telephone lines.

The group described the move as unnecessary and anti-democratisation of telecoms access.

Shina Bilesanmi, national chairman, said there were some measures in place to ensure that telephone lines, as a precious national resource, is used judiciously and in the interest of the digital access drive of the government and growth of the telecoms sector.

According to him, the interests of over 180 million subscribers in Nigeria should be the priority of any policy change conceived by the government, adding that even such change should stem from necessity and not just a wish of the minister without consultation with other stakeholders in the industry.

Bilesanmi stressed that restriction of Nigerians to a particular number of telephone lines will not reflect the reality in the market when the level of quality of service and individuals’ purposes for using many telephone lines are considered.

He said: “The minister has instructed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to review policy on SIM registration and usage. This on its own is a good call. The growth and dynamics of the industry will always call for better policies and approaches that reflect this dynamic reality.

“Regulating Nigerians on the number of telephone lines they can activate to their names for their personal and business use is, however, not one of the things we need now.’’

Service (QoS) in Nigeria calls for a multi-simming lifestyle. All our operators are still in the process of making their network available nationwide, but they have not been able to achieve this even almost 20 years after the deregulation of the industry.

“In that case, subscribers who travel to various parts of the country will, out of necessity, always have various lines to ensure they remain connected wherever they are.

“The fact that telecoms consumers have also found telephone lines indispensable to their business operations can make a subscriber rely on more than three SIM cards being suggested by minister Pantami as maximum to run his business.”


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