By Kester Omu
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has posited that it would be wrong for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to suspend some Interconnect houses, over the allegation of call masking without making available evidence to show that call masking emanated from their end.
The President of ATCON, Mr. Olusola Teniola, who spoke to the Punch Newspaper, also argued that the affected interconnect houses, who are members of ATCON are only responsible five per cent of all calls routed in the telecom industry, while the remaining 95 per cent passed through network operators.
“To the best of my knowledge, NCC has not shown any evidence to convince anybody that call masking emanated from the Interconnect houses,” he said.
He stated that even when evidence exists, the Mobile Network Operators, where 95 per cent of voice and SMS traffic happens should ordinarily be the first point of call for the telecom regulator, adding that calls originate and terminate with mobile and fixed network providers.
The Nigerian Communications Commission had said it will impose the maximum possible penalties on any of its licensees implicated in the practice of masking of international telephone calls, after the 31st of January given to the affected companies to defend themselves.
The NCC noted that the license of any of the interconnect exchange found wanting, would either be revoked or suspended.
The licensees involved include Medallion Communications Limited, Interconnect Cleaning House Nigeria Limited, Niconnx Communication Limited, Breeze Micro Limited, Solid Interconnectivity and Exchange Telecommunications Limited.
Call masking or refilling is a practice in which callers hide their true numbers when making calls, especially international calls, in order to evade the international call rates. The telecom regulator said the act posed a threat to national security.