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Online SIM Swap Now Approved in the New Regulatory Guideline of NCC

Justin Anumiri

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In its effort to stop fraudulent SIM replacement, the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) has approved Online SIM Swap. The Commission also provides requirements to be satisfied for an online SIM replacement to be carried out.

Mrs. Akintoye Yetunde, the Head of Legal Services of the Commission disclosed this during Public Inquiries on the draft Enforcement Processes and SIM replacement guidelines which took place on Tuesday in the Capital City of Nigeria, Abuja.

According to Mrs. Yetunde, the aim of the draft SIM Replacement Guidelines is to create and provide an effective, efficient, and seamless procedure for replacement of SIMs in Nigeria. The guidelines as she said also aimed at curtailing fraudulent replacements which have increased in the industry and also to ensure a safe SIM replacement process.

Explaining the online SIM Replacement (OSM), Yetunde said that the process could only be executed via the website of the National Service Providers (NSPs) or self-service terminal. She explained that NSPs were expected to issue a unique identification and PIN to their subscribers with which they can use to carry out SIM Replacement through the NSPs’ website. It is expected that the NSPs should create website platforms to enable their subscribers to execute the process of online SIM replacement.

As she explained, the SIM activation process begins with the verification of the subscriber’s details after which a replaced SIM must be activated within two hours from the time the details of the subscriber has been verified.

In order to ensure that the system functions effectively and creditably well, the Head of the Legal services of the Commission said that the NSPs would be auditing all the transactions involving SIM replacement carried by their Staffs as well as their agents on quarterly basis. A report should be issued to the commission at the end of audit. According Mrs. Yetunde, NSPs should be responsible for any fraudulent SIM replacement transaction or any SIM replacement carried out without adherence to the guidelines.

The new regulations and guidelines according to the Commission will not only provide guiding standards and principles for SIM replacement and enforcement processes in the industry, they will also complement the Commission’s Act and respective Licenses.

Dr. Eugene Juwah, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission said that the new initiative of the commission would ensure that the international best practices are adopted by the industry in Nigeria taking our unique operating environment into consideration.

While rejecting SIM replacement through phone calls, the commission has issued requirements for the replacement of SIMs which include due registration of the SIM in compliance with the 2001 telephone subscribers’ registration regulation, completion of standard form by the subscribers, provision of valid photo identification, SIM pack, last three recharges on the SIM and three most frequently called numbers.

The reason for these requirements according to the NCC is to frustrate any attempt by fraudsters to abuse the process. However, as promised by the NCC, there will be a review of this decision in the future.

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