Nigeria's two largest mobile network operators, MTN and Zain have agreed to sign up to a centralised stolen handset database after a funding agreement was brokered by the telecoms regulator. The Central Equipment Identity Registry (CEIR) service provider, Netvisa GSM Secured will operate the database independently of the operators.
Under terms of the agreement, the operators will pay the management fees to Netvisa, but then reduce their annual numbering fees paid to the regulator.
The deal lasts for two-years, and it is presumed that when the contract expires, that the operators will levy the charge direct to the subscriber bills.
Based on official statistics obtained by Technology Times, active mobile subscriber base on GSM and CDMA mobile networks in the country reached 66,418,011 lines at Q2, 2009, a development that will see Netvisa raking in some N3.2 billion (US$21 million) in monthly and annual earnings from subscribers when all other mobile operators join MTN and Zain in interconnecting the CEIR network.
"That is money earned from doing absolutely nothing", an executive of a telecoms company who is conversant with the development told Technology Times on condition of anonymity at the weekend while also citing that operators have come under pressure to connect the controversy-ridden CEIR service provider, Netvisa.
The regulator pegged the rate of 40 kobo per subscriber for the phone blocking service after Netvisa's proposal for a higher price was resisted by operators, who also expressed dissatisfaction with the selection process that saw the emergence of Netvisa as the preferred candidate to provide the single database of blacklisted phones in the country.