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NCC May Suspend 6 Telco Clearinghouses Over Call Masking

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given a notice of its intention to suspend the interconnect exchange licences granted to six telecommunications clearinghouses over the unethical practice of allowing call masking and call refilling emanate from their facilities.

LEADERSHIP learnt yesterday that NCC has given Medallion Communications Limited, Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria Limited, Niconnx Communication Limited, Breeze Micro Limited, Solid Interconnectivity and Exchange Telecommunications Limited up to January 31, 2018 to state reasons why the regulator should not suspend their licences.

Call masking or refiling is the practice of cloning a local telephone number in place of an international number and vice versa with the intention of misconstruing the network that the call was a local call just to shortchanging the telecom operator and the government of revenue due it.

According to LEADERSHIP findings, the telecom regulator had in a letter dated January 12, 2018 signed by Yetunde Akinloye, head, legal and regulatory services and Efosa Idehen, head, compliance monitoring and enforcement on behalf of the executive vice chairman/CEO, NCC, issued the Notice of Intention to Suspend licence pursuant to Section 45 (1) and (3) of the Nigerian Communications Act.

Recall that the NCC had vide its letter Ref: TSNI/GEN/VOL.4/115 dated July 19, 2017 directed relevant licencees to ensure the cessation of call masking or refiling activity on their respective networks. The deadline for compliance was July 28, 2017.

Furthermore, on August 3, 2017, at the stakeholders meeting organized by the Commission in which the affected companies participated, it was resolved that a comprehensive investigation would be carried out the NCC to determine the companies/licences involved in the illegal act. All the licences were warned to desist from this practice.

It was also agreed that identified culprits will be sanctioned as part of measures to forestall the negative impact of this incidence on national security.  Akinloye and Efosa in the jointly signed letter stated that “having carefully analysed all the relevant data collected in the course of its investigation activities, the Commission has established a direct and indirect evidence against your company in the illegal and unwholesome activity of call masking and refiling.

“Consequently, the Commission, pursuant to Section 45 (1 and (3) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 hereby gives you Notice of its Intention to suspend Interconnect Exchange Licence granted to your company due to your involvement in call masking and refiling and your failure to rectify the breach, despite repeated interventions by the Commission. You are therefore required to state reasons why the Commission should not suspend the said licence. We expected to receive your response on or before January 31, 2018” the letter read.



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