A delegation from the Congo-Brazzaville Telecommunications Regulations Authority (CTRA) has visited NCC on a benchmarking tour.
The delegation from the central African nation purposively paid a scheduled visit to NCC, essentially to understudy the latter’s policies, practices and programmes that have made it a model telecommunications regulatory authority on the Continent and beyond.
Congolese team led by CTRA’s Network Director, Benjamin Mouandza, was exposed to key result-oriented regulatory activities, frameworks, programmes and policies of NCC, with the objective to explore how such operational frameworks could be adapted by the African nation noted for its huge rainforest reserves.
In the letter written to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Congloese regulator, had indicated interest to gain more insights into three areas of NCC’s regulatory activities, namely, management of issues associated with Quality of Service (QoS), SIM Boxing and Call Masking, as well as telecom equipment type-approval process. Danbatta graciously accepted to host the team and further directed relevant departments of NCC, including Special Duties (SD); Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI); and the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement (CME) directorates to interact with the team to provide necessary information sharing that may be useful to the Congolese counterpart. NCC’s Director, TSNI, Bako Wakil, spoke extensively on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) instituted by NCC on QoS, and how these KPIs are measured and monitored by the Commission toward ensuring improved service delivery to the Nigeria’s ever-growing telecoms consumers.
“It had helped to improve Quality of Experience (QoE) of the consumers. The Commission had developed a rigorous type-approval process to ensure that telecoms equipment, including terminal devices, manufactured in line with international standards and specifications are brought into the country.”
“The NCC is serious about type-approval process like other processes, because non-type approved devices and equipment which are also not manufactured to international standards and specifications have negative implications for quality of service delivery on the networks”.He noted that call masking is the practice of sending international calls to an operator but disguising the calls, as if they were local by sending the calls on the local interconnect route with a local number in the national numbering plan instead of the original international calling number. NCC’s Director, CME, Ephraim Nwokonneya, spoke on the problems created by fraudulent practice of SIM Boxing, including threat to national security, loss of revenue to service providers and the government. Additionally, he asserted the anti-competitive practices associated with such acts among licensees as well as the general economic implications so evident in revenue loss.
“Regulators can deploy anti-SIM boxing and call masking solutions, be proactive and effective in monitoring and enforcement. Collaboration with the industry and law enforcement agencies, capacity building through training and skill acquisition programmes, as well as the review of the Enforcement Regulations and enabling laws.” Nwokonneya told the Congolese telecoms regulator team that collaboration between the regulator and the industry is required to effectively combat the menace of SIMBox Fraud, Call Masking and Call Refiling in conjunction with deployment of technological solution and well trained staff. The NCC team emphasised that the combination of regulatory action and deployment of technology solutions have helped to put the menace of call masking and SIMBoxing in the Nigeria’s telecoms sector under check. CTRA’s Network Director, Benjamin Mouandza,
said the choice made by the Congolese regulator to visit NCC on a benchmarking tour has been worthwhile. “We have come to understand how the regulator in Nigeria has been handling some salient regulatory issues and matters in the country as it relates to telecoms. In the course of this visit, I can say that our objective has been achieved. The experience has been very rich, we have learnt many things. We thank the EVC and his team for accepting to host us. We are more positioned now to replicate some of the things we have learnt in our telecoms market back home”. The Congolese officials had practical demonstrations of the issues earlier discussed, especially the nature of technologies that have been deployed by the NCC to independently and remotely monitor, measure and validate QoS on the networks of mobile operators in the country.