Graphic Business News

Telecom chamber moves to protect consumers

By: Kester Korankye
Mr Ken Ashigbey
Mr Ken Ashigbey

THE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Mr Ken Ashigbey, has expressed the resolve of the chamber to ensure that customers receive quality service from telecommunication companies.
He explained that in Ghana, the quality of service remained a major concern for the public with call drops, poor Internet services, network congestions and call breaks as well as mobile money fraud.

“With those issues probably in mind, consumers had rights and equally had responsibilities and we will work together with our customers to ensure that they did not compromise on their security and data privacy as they gain access to these new services, more responsive products, greater convenience and choice,” Mr Ashigbey, said at a programme to mark this year’s World Consumer Rights Day at Rawlings Park in Accra.
He said mobile phone users must be wary of fake or counterfeit phones because of the health risks and quality of service challenges they posed.
The CEO observed that such phones copy popular brands and models and were usually made from sub-standard materials meaning their users were exposed to higher radiations. Also they deliver poor quality of service.
“They are usually also not tested and certified for safety and often made from cheap components, which are not from the genuine brand owners.”

“It is regrettable to know that these fake phones impact quality of service network operators offer, thereby, offering customers poor user experience,” Mr Ashigbey said.
He, therefore urged the public to buy their mobile phones, devices and accessories from trusted and licensed equipment manufacturers and dealers who could provide means of verifying the authenticity of their products.

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) in a research in 2010 found that fake cell phones emitted radio frequency radiations higher than what was internationally stipulated as safe for human exposure.
The study found that mobile handset placed the safe exposure threshold at 2.0w/kg, but some of the phones tested in the study showed emission levels way higher than the threshold approved by the guidelines set by the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
In 2016, Tanzania disconnected more than 630,000 mobile phones joining Cameroon, South Africa and Nigeria in efforts to boost security and health measures by disconnecting the phones.
According to experts, counterfeit phones lack authentic International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers that are crucial to identifying and tracking mobile phones, making it easier for criminals and militant and terrorists to escape detection.

Pre-registered SIM cards
With more than 41 million SIM cards said to be connected in Ghana, according to statistics from GCT, and involved in transaction including mobile money, accessing salaries and pension, loans and treasury bills, Mr Ashigbey said it meant ensuring the affordability, safety and security of the devices and services that connect to the Internet and other connectivity points.
Turning his attention to SIM card registration, he cautioned the public against the purchase of pre-registered SIM cards since it was fraudulent and exposed mobile phone users to cyber fraud and other security hazards.
“We entreat the general public to report any persons that are trading in pre-registered SIM cards to the police and mobile network operators. Pre-registered SIM cards compromise everyone on the network and as an industry we are committed to working together to fight this menace,” he said.

Quality service
A member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications, Mr Sam George, said the committee would put pressure on the telcos to deliver quality while working with the telcos to enact legislations that would fight SIM box fraud, fake SIM cards and fibre cuts.
A representative of the Consumer Protection Agency made a case for Parliament to pass the Consumer Protection Bill which had been before Parliament since 2007.