The Dangers of Counterfeit Phones

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  1. What is a Counterfeit Phone?

    A counterfeit phone is one that, without permission, bears a trademark that is identical or indistinguishable from a registered phone manufacturer. Greater demand for mobile phones has resulted in a rise in counterfeit phones, batteries and accessories. Counterfeit mobile devices are therefore very cheap and have contributed to teledensity in the country.

  1. What has NCC done to curb the use of Counterfeit Phones?

    The Nigerian Communications Commission is empowered by the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 to establish and enforce standards for all telecommunications equipment in operation in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ensure that they operate seamlessly and safely within the Nigerian telecommunications environment.

    All equipment manufacturers, vendors and operators, including customer devices such as mobile phones and wireless adapters, must therefore ensure that their equipment conform to the applicable standards as mandated by the Commission before bringing them into Nigeria.

    The Technical Standard and Network Integrity Department of the NCC handles type approval of all equipment by ensuring they are up to standard. For process of type approval and further information please check the Type Approval page on the NCC website.

    Also a list of FAQ can be found on the link below:
    http://consumer.ncc.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FREQUENTLYASKEDQUESTIONS-FROM-TSNI-DEPT.pdf

    The Compliance and Monitoring Department also regularly embarks on monitoring exercise and confiscates mobile phones that are not type approved in the market.

  2. What is the impact of using Counterfeit phones?
    • It lowers the quality of service of mobile telecommunication services, thus impacting the experience of consumers and businesses.
    • Creates a safety hazard for consumers due to use of defective or inadequate components or materials;
    • Raises cyber security-related threats.
    • According to the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF), counterfeit and substandard mobile devices pose growing threats to consumer health and safety as they are not tested for compliance and contain dangerously high levels of lead and calcium in phone parts exposed to Consumers.
  3. How do I know a counterfeit phone?

    The GSM Association (GSMA) manages the International Mobile Equipment Identities (IMEIs) for the Global System For Mobile Communications (GSM) to ensure they are unique. The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a globally recognized, universally applicable system to uniquely identify mobile phones manufactured in accordance with internationally agreed safety and quality standards. Consumers should check the IMEI of their mobile phones against the database of legitimate mobile devices managed by GSMA.

    The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) type approves all Handsets brought into the country, always check the NCC site for an updated list of type approved phones.

    The Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) has also created a website giving information for consumers on how to spot counterfeit phones and batteries.

  4. How do I check for IMEI number?

    Dial *#06# and the IMEI will automatically be displayed on the phone screen. Alternatively, the IMEI number will be found written on the body of the mobile phone, usually under the battery.

  5. Do counterfeit mobile phones have IMEIs?

    Every genuine mobile phone has a serial number to register it to a carrier network. This number is called the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. The IMEI number can be used to verify the authenticity of a phone.

    Often counterfeit phones won’t have an IMEI number or might use a fake one. The IMEIs given to these phones by their manufacturers are usually not reflected in the GSMA IMEI database. It is therefore important to know your specific phone model number, technical specification, logo and other features.

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