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Experts decry NCC’s back and forth approach in ending ‘call masking’

Telecoms industry experts have raised concerns over what they described as a clear case of indecision by the regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), in handling the monster of call masking and associated sharp practices by some operators.
Many of them who spoke with our correspondents on Monday said NCC has not shown the expected bite and regulative will to stamp out the scourge.
It would be recalled that NCC few months ago, rolled out the big stick on some it described as defaulters only to turn back and recede it decision due to poor diligence in its investigations after all.
However, only recently, NCC, again said it will impose appropriate sanctions on any telecom operator that allows the illegal masking of international calls.
Call masking refers to termination of international calls with local telephone numbers displayed on a receiver’s phone screen.
Alhaji Ismail Adedigba, Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC explained in Yenagoa that the trend was illegal and fraudulent.
“NCC is focused on the protection of consumers in the telecommunications space in Nigeria and the development of the sector over the years has thrown up contemporary challenges in the industry like call masking.
“We have outlawed it and we encourage subscribers who receive international calls with local numbers showing on their phone screens to report to us in NCC by calling our toll free number 622.
“Calls to 622, are at no cost, we expect them to give us the number displayed so that we can trace the erring operator for appropriate regulatory sanctions.
“Our regulatory mandate include consumer protection and to shield them from market exploitation and fraud,” Adedigba said.
He said that the NCC was working to acquire appropriate technologies to nip call masking in the bud rather than rely on subscribers’ reports.
On the limited telephone coverage of telephone services in remote areas, Adedigba said NCC was developing “local roaming” among operators to make telephone service available to subscribers across the networks.