Sierra Leone regulator stems up fight against SIM Box fraud to recover $1M lost monthly
2 December 2016
The National Telecoms Commission (NATCOM) in Sierra Leone has appointed The Subah Group to tackle SIM Box Fraud and improve Revenue Assurance in the country.
According to Birendra Sasmal, CEO of The Subah Group, “Our SIM Box solution can detect and block SIMs as well as identify the physical location of fraudulent SIM box operations so they can be destroyed. We will be deploying all our expertise and experience to increase revenues for both the operators and Government of Sierra Leone.”
Subah has already deployed successful systems in both its home country of Ghana and in The Republic of Guinea where it is estimated that an additional US$1.5 million of additional voice traffic is now being billed every month by operators. This, in turn, is producing an extra US$30,000 a month in tax revenues for the Government of Guinea.
Fraudulent SIM Boxes are a blight on networks both in Africa – and around the world -with criminals using the Internet and VSAT to convert international incoming voice calls into domestic calls and avoid the higher termination rates.
Fraudulent SIM boxes can be found in the most innocuous of places. They are often operated remotely with locals returning regularly to load credit or insert new SIM cards. In fact, so lucrative is this activity, some SIM box operation sites are protected by armed guards.
As a result, operator revenues are reduced and Governments are missing out on tax revenue. In its 2015 Global Fraud Loss Survey, The Communications Fraud Control Association estimated that SIM Box Fraud cost operators $5.97 billion in lost revenue.
Subah will be monitoring international voice and data traffic between Sierra Leone and overseas destinations using its SIM Box Fraud and Traffic Monitoring systems.
NATCOM carried out a thorough evaluation of bids submitted by twelve companies (eleven international and one local).
Sensie Kannon, The Director General of NATCOM, said “We estimate that our Government is losing close to US$1 million in tax revenue every month as a result of poor and ineffective monitoring of the gateway system. This is money that our country needs.