The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Wednesday clamped down on four telecoms companies for engaging in illegal usage of spectrum frequency.
The four operators are Steam Communications, Netcom Africa, SwiftTalk and Multi-dimension Technologies, all located in Lagos.
Mr Salisu Abdu, Head of Enforcement Unit of NCC, told newsmen during the enforcement that they were also on the trail of three more operators who were violating regulations in the industry.
Abdu said that the operators were operating on the 5.4 gigahertz frequency band, which was not licensed to them by the commission.
He said the operation of the telecoms firms was an offence under Section 122 of the Nigerian Communication Act 2003, adding that it was a criminal act to operate without proper licensing by the NCC.
According to him, in 2009, NCC came up with a guideline on the deployment of service on the 5.4Ghz band that no operator should operate on it without obtaining necessary licences from NCC.
”In the course of the guideline, we have monitored compliance and we have discovered that we still have some operators operating illegally on the 5.4GHz till 2012.
”We have done a lot of clean-up and we thought the frequency was free of interferences.
”So, after recent monitoring by the Spectrum Administration Department of NCC, about seven operators are now discovered to be operating on the 5.4Ghz band.
”On Tuesday, we visited Steam Communications Company and we found they were operating on the 5.4GHz band, we confiscated their radio equipment and they are currently under investigation,” he said.
Abdu said at the end of the investigation, Steam Communications would be prosecuted and fined appropriately.
He said that Netcom Africa, Multi-dimension and SwiftTalk were collocating their equipment on a telecom mast belonging to a licensed inter-connect clearing operator.
”Currently, we have removed the power units, which the three tenant companies are using to power their services.
”We have asked them to remove the actual radio equipment from the mast which they are going to hand over to the commission and investigation will be carried out accordingly,” Abdu said.
He, however, said that the mast owner, which houses the three telecoms firms on its network was not culpable.
Abdu said this was because each operator was licensed separately by the regulator with terms and conditions of their licences clearly stated.
”So, they ought to have complied with all the terms and conditions of their licences and the relationship between the mast owner and the three firms is a different thing entirely.
“This is because the mast owner only rented space to the illegal operators,” he said.
Abdu warned licensees in the telecoms sector to always comply with their licensing conditions.
He said that indulging on illegal operations was capable of creating unnecessary interferences in telecoms service delivery, which ultimately affected consumers.