Nigeria: Telecoms Operators Berate NCAA Over Plan to Demolish 7,000 Masts

Telecommunications operators yesterday chided the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over its threat to demolish about 7,000 masts largely owned by Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) service providers in the country.The operators said that any site brought down illegally and without due consultation would not be rebuilt and the consequences would be felt by all.

They stressed that the NCAA's move would throw the country into telecommunications blackout.The service providers, under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), described the move as another way to impose unwarranted taxes on the sector.ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, who spoke at a forum organised by Vanguard Newspapers Limited in Lagos, said the sector had become subject of attack from every angle.

Adebayo said the nation forgets that telecoms remains infrastructure of infrastructure because other sectors rely on ICT to drive their operations, "which when attacked, the economy and the people will feel the impact negatively."

The ALTON chairman also carpeted the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for faulting SIM registration done by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reversed itself on the claims that 63.2 per cent of SIM registration data collected from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are invalid.

The commission said there was need to clarify the details for the benefit of subscribers and other critical stakeholders who rely on subscriber registration data.In a statement yesterday, the commission said the data gathered are undergoing scrubbing, verification and standardisation.

The NCC said it is in the process of scrubbing registration data submitted by operators and is an ongoing one and so far, over 60 million records have been "scrubbed" successfully. It said although the figures quoted in the news reports were disclosed at a sensitisation workshop to illustrate the quality of initial data submissions, subsequent process enhancements by the NCC and operators have led to better quality submissions.

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