The Federal Government will soon order telecom companies in the country to effect a nationwide switch-off of over 12.6 million counterfeit phones from networks by using the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.
This was disclosed by Dr. Joseph Odumodu, Director General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Speaking during an interactive forum with Phone Brand Owners in Lagos, the SON boss pointed out that in 2013 alone, over N5 billion was spent in Nigeria on the importation of substandard mobile phones, adding that as at April this year, Nigeria currently has a GSM subscriber base of 126,958,904; and 10 percent of these subscribers (12.6 million) use counterfeit phones.
He affirmed that the enforcement will boost consumer rights protection, increased revenue for the government via taxes; increase revenue for the genuine mobile phone manufacturers as well as improved GSM networks in the country.
According to him, SON is working out the plan with Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and Consumer Protection Council; the phone operators, and “Soon government shall announce the directive to switch the fake phones off the networks.”
“As more countries switch-off counterfeit phones, the people behind this scourge will keep moving to countries that are yet to adopt this solution, hence the urgent need to address the situation,” he said.
He enjoined all brand owners to monitor and protect their products from the factories (manufacturers) until they get to the end-users.
“Brand owners have to inscribe coded identification marks on original phones to ensure traceability and proper user’s guide,” he said.
Umego Adaora, CPC Scientific Officer Lagos Zonal Office, also urged the brand owners to look beyond making money by considering the negative effects substandard phones have on the economy, the environment and the consumer.