The number of mobile handsets and other telecoms equipment approved by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) so far has reached 4,548 till date, New Telegraph has learnt.
The total consists of 3,288 communications equipment from the providers’ side such as base stations, microwave equipment, code division multiple access (CDMA) facilities and modems, among others and 1, 260 terminal mobile devices, mostly handsets.
NCC had put the total number of type-approved handsets in Nigeria at 2,884, featuring different handset models manufactured by over 76 mobile devices manufacturers across different countries.
However, following the upgrading of the official website of NCC, it has reviewed the earlier list of type-approved phones, resulting in reduction in the number from 2,884 to 1,260 approved handsets.
As at 2013, the figure stood at 849 phones, as over 2,000 handsets were officially approved for trading in Nigeria in the last three years. Major phone brands on the list of type-approved mobile handsets’ released by the Commission include Nokia, Samsung, Huwaei, Sony Ericsson, Blackberry, Apple, Ericsson, ZTE, Motorola, Infinix, LG, Tecno, Gionee, G-Tide, HTC and Haier Thermocool, among several others.
However, of all the over 76 brands of phones in the country, Nokia had recorded highest number of phone models introduced between 2001 and till date, which was followed by Samsung. According to an NCC data obtained, Nokia-Window phones has launched over 250 phone models in Nigeria, followed by Samsung with over 200 models; Huwaei followed with over 100 models with Blueberry, ZTE, Tecno, Sonny Ericsson having significant number of models in the market.
The NCC is empowered by the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 to establish and enforce standards for all telecommunications equipment in operation in Nigeria to ensure that they operate seamlessly and safely within the Nigerian telecommunications environment.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, “all equipment manufacturers, vendors and operators, including customer devices such as mobile phones and wireless adapters, must ensure that their equipment conform to the applicable standards as mandated by the Commission before bringing them into Nigeria.”
He had explained that to ensure maximum interoperability and affordability for consumers, the type-approval standards set by NCC are based on international standards from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and its International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR), among others.
The telecoms regulatory agency had stated that the poor quality of services in the telecoms sector is caused by deployment of substandard equipment being used by the operators while saying the phones that do not meet standards, when connected to the network, also contribute to poor service.
Meanwhile, NCC has constantly been working to take regulatory action against any service provider and phone manufacturer found with non-typed approved information telecommunication infrastructures and mobile devices respectively.
According to Danbatta, allowing ICT infrastructures and devices that do not meet the internationally- approved manufacturing standards into the country has the tendency to impinge on the quality of service provided by the operators.
“The main objective of equipment type-approval in the industry was to ensure that communication equipment to be used in Nigeria comply fully with Nigerian and international standards as it relates to electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and specific absorption rate (SAR) for human safety and other regulatory key performance indicators for the promotion of better quality of service,” Danbatta said.
Over the years, NCC and Standard Organisations of Nigeria have separately staged clampdowns on manufacturers of substandard phones or quality but non-type approved phones in the country in order to ensure compliance. Confirming such compliance enforcement exercises, Head, Enforcement and Compliance Monitoring at NCC, Mr. Efosa Idehen said, “We have carried out series of enforcement and monitoring activities, moving from organisation to organisation and market clusters to another cluster with a view to fishing out those violating our type-approval process, which is a regulatory requirement before any handset can be sold in the country.”
Meanwhile, market pundits say the influx of substandard or non-type approved ICT products is a reflection of the Nigeria economy.