The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it had concluded plans to prosecute four telecommunications firms for illegal operations. The firms are: Steam Communications, Netcom, SwiftTalk and Multi-dimesnion Technologies all located in Lagos
They are to be prosecuted for illegally operating in the unlicensed 5.4 GHz frequency band. The operations of the telecoms firms was an offence under Section 122 of the Nigerian Communication Act 2003, which criminalises any operation without adequate licensing by the regulator.
This was made known to news men by the Assistant Director, Compliance and Enforcement, NCC, Mr. Salisu Abdu. He noted that before now, the telecom regulator had warned internet service providers and other companies illegally occupying the spectrum to discontinue use of such or face the wrath of the law.
The illegal operators were discovered during a four-day enforcement exercise which started on Tuesday and ended Friday in Lagos.
Three more illegal operators are still being tracked by the NCC team with expectation that their identity would be unravelled soon. All the seven operators are said to be operating on the 5.4 gigahertz frequency band without the operational license by the Commission.
He explained that in 2009, NCC came up with a guideline on the deployment of service on the 5.4Ghz band that no operator should operate on it without obtaining necessary licences from the NCC.
He said: “In the course of the guideline, we have monitored compliance and we have discovered that we still have some operators operating illegally on the 5.4GHz till 2012. We have done a lot of clean-up and we thought the frequency was free of interferences. So, after recent monitoring by the Spectrum Administration Department of NCC, about seven operators were found to be operating illegally on the 5.4Ghz band.
“On Tuesday, we visited Steam Communications Company and we found they were operating on the 5.4GHz band and as result, we confiscated their radio equipment and they are currently under investigation”. Abdu said at the end of the investigation, Steam Communications would be prosecuted and fined appropriately.
He said the enforcement team also discovered that Netcom, Multi-dimension and SwiftTalk were co-locating their equipment on a telecom mast belonging to a licensed inter- connect clearing operator. “Currently, we have removed the power units, which the three tenant companies are using to power their service. We have asked them to remove the actual radio equipment from the mast which they are handing over to the Commission and investigation would be carried out accordingly” he said.
Abdu, however, said that the mast owner, which houses the three telecoms firms on its network was not culpable, saying “the mast owner is not under any obligation to find out whether or not the three companies are licensed by the NCC”.
He said this was because each operator is licensed separately by the regulator with terms and conditions of their licences clearly stated.
Source : Independent