The Nigerian Communications Commission on Wednesday clamped down on businesses and individuals that illegally use Global System for Mobile boosters to cause interference in the network service of 9mobile.
The Head of Enforcement Unit, NCC, Mr. Salisu Abdu, said the commission discovered four places in Ikoyi area of Lagos State where GSM boosters were being used to degrade the quality of service based on complaints by 9mobile.
According to him, the perpetrators are Page Microfinance Bank, GMT Energy Resources, Club 57 on Awolowo Road and Plot 61, Ademola Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Abdu said it was illegal to install equipment that cause network interference without receiving an approval from the commission.
He explained that boosters were used to extort services from other neighbours to improve the quality of services within the premises of the users.
“We are in Lagos today based on complaints we received from our licensee, 9moble, with respect to a frequency interference they are having in their network. It is illegal for any person to install equipment that causes network interoperability that degrades the quality of service.
“The equipment they installed are GSM boosters. They actually improve the quality of service in their own premises at the detriment of the neighbouring residents. The equipment extorts services from other subscribers around and localise it in their own premises. It is a disadvantage to neighbouring residents and an advantage to them.”
He added that the commission was able to identify vendors of the GSM boosters during its monitoring and enforcement activities.
According to him, the booster found with the Page Microfinance Bank has been confiscated, while those belonging to GMT and Club 57 have been returned to the vendors.
Abdu said, “Before installation of any equipment that degrades quality of services such as GSM boosters, permission has to be granted. It is illegal to do that and it violates the provision of the NCC Act. If you have to use this type of equipment, we have to clarify whether it is allowed or not.
“There was a monitoring exercise carried out by our officers two weeks ago and we have had interaction with the affected companies and we notified them that it is illegal to do that. On the basis of the monitoring exercise, the companies removed it. We came to confirm whether the equipment has been removed and we confiscated one because the other two have already been handed over to the vendors.”
Abdu used the opportunity to warn organisations and individuals using illegal installations in the country to desist, threatening that for those caught, the long arm of the law would catch up with them.