The Nigerian Communications Commission has declared the sale and usage of mobile network boosters illegal and has given 14 days to telecoms, banks government agencies and other Nigerians to halt its usage.
The commission which is under the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy said in a statement on Tuesday that the sale of network boosters in the country is criminal and punishable henceforth.
A Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network booster is a bi-directional amplifier used to improve cell phone reception when signal is poor.
The NCC had warned of the health hazards of GSM network boosters, adding that it should be avoided.
“The Nigerian Communications Commision informs the general public, particularly banks and other Financial Institutions, Government Agencies, Telecommunications Service Providers, private/public companies and owners/occupiers of residential premises that the sale, installation and usage of GSM boosters is illegal,” the commission said.
It said the directive was in exercise of the NCC mandate of ensuring the protection of consumers, ensuring good quality of service and maintenance of technical standards of communication equipment.
This according to the regulator is in accordance with the provision of Section 131 (1) of the Nigerian Communications Act of 2003.
The NCC added, “The Commission hereby warns the general public that it is a-criminal offence to sell, install or use any equipment which may hinder network operations or which has not been type-approved by the commission.
“Such acts may lead to monetary sanction an/or imprisonment, or both (fine and imprisonment) as well as the confiscation of any equipment in the illegal enhancement of network coverage.”
On its part, the NCC said it would continue to deepen efforts to work with telecoms operators to facilitate the provision of telecons infrastructure across the country.
NCC said, “In view of the above, the commission hereby gives a 14-day pre- enforcement notice effective from the date of this publication to any person involved in the sale, installation of the device to forthwith desist from such act.
It added that upon expiry of the deadline, the NCC will take appropriate action to which will not be limited to prosecution and paying of fines and confiscation of the equipment used to boost the network.