By Bukola Olanrewaju
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced of its plan to visit the vendors who are illegally selling Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication Booster equipments without the commission’s permission.
According to the Head of Enforcement Unit at NCC, Mr. Salisu Abdul, “our next phase of our enforcement activities, therefore, is to visit the vendors who are illegally selling the equipment without our own permission”.
This he said after the raid of four organisations along Ikoyi axis in Lagos, which are Page Microfinance Bank, GMT Energy Resources, Club 57 and a property on No 61, Ademola Street, Ikoyi-Lagos.
The raid which was conducted following the complaints received from 9mobile, a major Network Operator in Nigeria that GSM Boosters have constituted service disruption for them (9mobile) led to the commissions’ finding that the culprits not only have removed the equipments but have also returned them to the vendors before their arrival.
GSM Boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore, interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
NCC has said that GSM Boosters are illegally used by individuals in Nigeria and any individual desirous of using the GSM Booster can only do that in conjunction with licensed network operators.
Abdul explained that under the Nigerian Communication Act, 2003, it is illegal for any person or organisation to install any communications equipment capable of causing threats to service interoperability because such a practice degrades the quality of service.
While the four locations were found by the enforcement team, only the first three were tracked as the team could not access the premises of the fourth location on No. 61, Ademola Street.
Mr. Salisu Abdul, head of Enforcement Unit at NCC, said after a thorough search, the team was able to localise the culprits causing the network interference to the four locations.
“We are in Lagos today in respect of a compliant we received from 9mobile over a frequency interference they are having in their network. We have investigated the complaints and found that the interference signal was localised at four locations here in Lagos, particularly in Ikoyi axis.
“We got all the locations. They are four. Fortunately, we realised that they had all removed the equipment causing the interferences on 9mobile network following our initial notice earlier served them to desist from the use of GSM Boosters to jam network,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abdul said the NCC team during the raid confiscated GSM Booster equipment found with Page Microfinance Bank just as we found that GMT Energy Resources and Club 57 not only removed the equipment become we came for the raid but had also returned the equipment to their vendors.
Explaining the damages caused by the illegal use of GSM Boosters, Abdul said “This equipment called GSM boosters were installed and were being used illegally. What they actually do with GSM Booster is to improve the quality of service in their own premises at the detriments of neighbouring residents.
“So, what the equipment does is to extort services from other telecoms services users around and localise within the user’s premises.
“While the use of GSM booster can be seen as an advantage to the user, it is a disadvantage to the neighbours. It is illegal o do that in accordance with the provision of the telecoms laws and they have removed all the equipment.”
While stressing that the enforcement team also, during the clampdown, discovered the people who are selling the equipment illegally in the country,Abdul therefore announced of their next phase of action to start arresting vendors selling the equipments illegally in the country.
Speaking further, Abdu used the opportunity to warn organisations and individuals using illegal installation in the country to desist, threatening that for those not desisting from act, the long arm of the law will catch up with them.
He promised the resolve of the Commission to consistent carries out enforcement activities toward ensuring that the right thing is done in the country with a view to ensure effective growth of the nation’s telecoms industry, saying that “observance of the country’s telecoms laws are an essential ingredient towards achieving the sustainability of the industry growth.”