Telcos get one week ultimatum to end call masking

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised telecommunications companies in the country to desist from getting involved with call masking and call refilling on their networks.

According to ThisDay, the telecoms industry regulator gave the companies a week ultimatum, which lapses on Friday, July 28, to ensure that no call masking and refilling activity take place on their networks.

Call masking is an attempt by callers to hide their numbers when making calls, especially international calls, which are not charged, because the caller’s identity is completely hidden on the network.

The NCC has also summoned two of the telecoms operators suspected to be conniving with callers on their networks to mask their telephone numbers while making calls to a meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

In a letter of invitation to the companies, NCC said call masking could amount to national security risk and threat to the Nigerian economy if not addressed.

“The commission has been investigating this unwholesome practice of call masking and refilling in the telecoms industry before and after complaints, and our initial findings show that the practice is currently widespread,” the letter dated July 24 read.

“Due to serious security and economic implications of the practice, the commission is by this letter, giving your organisation a deadline of Friday, July 28, 2017, to ensure no call masking and call refilling activity takes place on your network.”

“The commission explicitly prohibits the practice and as such shall carry out robust compliance monitoring and enforcement actions after the expiration of the deadline, to ensure full compliance with the directive.

“The commission shall fully apply relevant regulatory sanctions on your organisation if found to be in breach post the one week deadline. In addition, there may be additional actions carried out against your organisation if found in breach of the directive after the stated guideline, by relevant security agencies under the office of the national security adviser (ONSA), due to national security implications.

“You are by this letter, invited to a meeting with the commission at 11am on Thursday July 27, 2017 at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja. The chief technical officer and other relevant members of your organisation are required to attend the meeting.”