There is an emerging niche trend in counterfeits, especially mobile phones and it threatens to destroy the telecommunications industry.
Counterfeit sales have never been higher, costing the mobile phone industry billions of dollars in lost sales every year.
According to a March 2017 report by the OECD, one in five mobile phones sold worldwide is counterfeit!
These numbers, according to spotafakephone.com, are supported by a sector-specific analysis from the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) covering 90 countries, which found that in 2015, 184 million counterfeit smartphones were sold, resulting in EUR 45.3 billion lost worldwide in that year (12.9% of all legitimate sales).
With counterfeiters evading taxation, many countries are losing a great deal of revenue, including sales and value added taxes as well as various duties and associated government charges.
While African countries and emerging markets have long been the primary market for fake devices, the proliferation of e-commerce has also increased the sales of counterfeits and fakes worldwide, making it a truly global issue.
Experts have warned of health risks of using fake or substandard phones as well as handsets that have been released into the market without proper tests and checks.
Patrick Odita, a telecommunication consultant, said studies showed that fake cell phone exposes users to emitted radio frequency radiations, which poses health problem to the individual.
Apart from health issues, Odita said that fake phones are responsible for some of the cases of poor reception; traffic jams on the networks; drooped calls; as well as revenue loss on the part of telecom operators.
The influxes of counterfeit phones in the country are worrisome and seem to have defiled all known measures to curb it.
Dr. Alex Ukwuani, an ICT security expert said that fake phones have both safety and security perspectives
“A criminal can use fake mobile phone to perpetuate crime and it will be difficult for the security agencies to trace the culprit” he added.
The Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC) said it has intensified the campaign to discourage the use of fake mobile phones.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Commission, said that the menace of counterfeit and substandard handsets has assumed a worrisome dimension as well as global dimension which require a lot of education on the part of the consumers and the collaboration with other government agencies to address it.
According to him NCC is set to form a coalition of forces in a renewed strategic partnership with all the marketers of handsets in the sector, to contain the menace.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is now undertaking an initiative at the regional level in collaboration with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), West African Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly (WATRA) and Mobile and Wireless Forum (MWF) to form a regional synergy in developing a framework for combating counterfeiting of ICT Devices in the African sub-region.
“The Commission is collaborating with other national stakeholders such as Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Customs Servics, Law enforcement agencies and environmental regulatory agencies,”.
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