The Network of Communication Reporters (NCR) is hosting its maiden telecom industry dialogue on SIM box fraud to enable various industry actors to discuss the issues frankly and chat a common course out of its widespread negative impact.
The forum, which is in collaboration with the industry regulator National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT) is on the theme “SIM Boxing: and it is slated for Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at the Coconut Groove Hotel in Accra.
It was designed to create the platform for the regulator, the telecom operators, independent industry experts, policymakers, lawmakers and law enforcers to have a candid dialogue about SIM boxing.
Spokesperson for NCR, Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona, who has written extensively on SIM boxing, noted that the regulator and telecom operators maintain entrenched positions on the subject and what is usually communicated to the public, is tainted with the the respective biases of the two.
He said the NCA often maintain that telecom operators facilitate SIM box fraud through their unbridled customer acquisition practices, characterised mainly by wrong SIM registration and or activation of unregistered SIM cards in bulk.
Meanwhile, the telecom operators also insist that the NCA’s pricing policy, i.e. the minimum of 19 cents per minute of inbound international call, is the single biggest motivation for fraudsters to invest into the equipment to engage in SIM box fraud.
The telecom operators also insist that to the extent that SIM boxes are imported through the borders of Ghana, where NCA officials are supposed to be present and check, it creates the impression the regulator is not doing enough to prevent the fraud.
Samuel Dowuona said it was worrying to find the telecom operators on one hand and the regulator on the other play blame game, while the fraudsters kept sucking millions of dollars off the country’s tax revenues.
“We therefore thought it was time for the parties involved to come together on one platform and discuss the issues and also get the opportunity to answer all the thorny questions on the minds of journalists and the public,” he said.
Participants of the forum would include students from the Ghana Technology University College, Ghana Institute of Journalism, Africa University College of Communications and the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence, Value Added Service Providers, Parliament, the Police CID and Ministry of Communications.
Speakers are being drawn from the NCA, telecom operators, and Police CID. There would also be an independent expert speaking to the technology used for SIM boxing and the legality or otherwise of it.
“It is our fervent hope that this forum would be a learning opportunity for journalists and the student participants and also culminate in definite steps towards a lasting solution to SIM boxing in Ghana,” Dowuona said.