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NCC to review ETA, threatens sanctions against non-typed approved devices

By The Citizen

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it will carry out upward review of costs payable for Equipment Type Approval (ETA), and threatened severe sanctions against any voice or data operator in the telecoms industry, found with non-typed approved information telecommunication infrastructure.

Equipment Type Approval is one of the key regulatory functions the Commission is saddled with as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 section 132, which states that, 'Licensed service or facilities providers, equipment manufacturers or suppliers shall obtain type approval certificates from the Commission in respect to their communications equipment or facilities prior to installation or sale in Nigeria'.

The nation's telecom regulator,  in justifying the new measure, said that costs of ETA have remained same in the last 10 years; which makes it almost the last sector to carry out such review in the country.

Presently, minor equipment ETA costs less than N300,000 while the major equipment type costs N550,000

Dr. Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman (NCC) at the commission's organised sensitization workshop on ETA in Lagos Thursday,  said that the workshop aimed at informing and educating stakeholders in particular and the general public on the need to ensure that, all telecom equipment used in the Nigerian market are fully approved by the Commission to ensure safety and compliance with international standards.

Juwah, represented by Dr. Balarabe Sani, director, Technical Standard and Network Integrity (NCC) told the stakeholders that the Commission is aware of the proliferation of sub-standard phones and other equipment by unpatriotic people in the society, which are not only detrimental to human health but also contribute to the poor quality of service in the industry.

He made it clear that it remains a punishable offence to import or sale communications equipment prior to obtaining Type Approval certificate from the Commission.

Thus, the EVC added that NCC has strengthened compliance monitoring and enforcement activities of the Commission by creating a full fledge department headed by a director.

'This is aimed at improving our surveillance activities and to ensure full compliance to standards by all stakeholders,' he said.

In a lead paper presented on behalf of Dr, Sani, Engineer Bako Wakil, head, Wireless Network (NCC), defined ETA as 'an administrative procedure of technical tests and vetting applied to items of telecommunications equipment before they can be sold, interconnected with the public network or used for the purpose of communication'.

According to him, it is primarily aimed at ensuring that communications equipment intended for the Nigerian market has been fully complied with Nigerian and international standards as it relates to Electromagnetic Radiation, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for human safety and other regulatory key performance indicators for the promotion of better quality of service.

The Director listed eligible applicants to include equipment vendors, Original Equipment manufacturers (OEMs), network operators, type approved consultants/agents, accredited laboratories and any legitimate entity that has legal binding in Nigeria.