Mobile operators are illegally deducting billions of Naira from their subscribers’ accounts, an investigation carried out by the Nigerian Communications Commission has shown.
The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at NCC, Mr Sunday Dare, said this at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
Dare, who represented Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umar Danbatta, said an on-going investigation covering a period of two years between 2016 and 2018 had found that mobile operators illegally deducted billions of naira from the accounts of their subscribers.
Also at the 86th Telecommunications Consumers Parliament in Abuja on Thursday, Danbatta said that the global telecommunications industry lost $60bn yearly to call masking.
Some of the illegal deductions happened through forced subscriptions to Value Added Services that subscribers did not willingly opt for.
He said, “The NCC carried out an investigation between 2016 and 2018 which revealed that telecoms consumers have been deducted billions of naira through forceful subscriptions, illegal and unauthorised deductions by Mobile Network Operators and Value Added Service Providers.”
Dare said that the full report would be ready for release in January and added that the operators would be forced to return the monies to the subscribers.
He also disclosed that nine persons had been arrested for their activities in masking international calls.
Masking means making international calls appear as local calls in order to reap the difference between local and international calls termination rates.
Dare said that deploying tracking services, the regulatory agency was able to trace nine persons to a building where they were engaged in the illegal activity of masking.
He said the nine persons would soon be charged to court.
The NCC helmsman also disclosed that the incidence of call masking reduced by 21 per cent between January and August. Again, between August and September, the incidence reduced further by 25 per cent.
He gave assurance that when the new tracking technology would be fully deployed in January 2019, the country would witness a significant reduction in call masking.