TMS to stop SIM spin in the Zimbabwe

Equipment fact checks Zimbabwean telcos’ services use reports

Zimbabwe’s regulator has raised its reporting game by instaling a system to track the uptake of telecom services aandmonitor traffic inflows by network providers. The new telecommunications traffic monitoring system (TMS) will provide instant and accurate data collection which the government hopes will plug ‘revenue inflow loopholes’, according to a report in Bulawayo 24. The regulator is convinced the latest system will create a platform for transparency by the telecommunications sector. The Government has said it needs accurate statistics to sustain the growth of Zimbabwe’s telco sector.

Rum declarations

Until now POTRAZ, the official account for the Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, has relied on a self-declaratory regime. “Wherever operators declare their own revenues the statements provided by mobile network operators have the potential of being inaccurate, which means the nation may actually be prejudiced of revenue,” said Dr. Gift Machengete, POTRAZ’s Director-General. “The sheer potential of declarations by operators being inaccurate also undermines the regulator’s oversight ability.”

Cybercrime rampant

Fraudulent traffic ends up being refilled into public networks through SIM boxes or illegal gateways, depriving the economy of the much needed foreign currency earnings and, explained a minister, ‘prejudicing’ the country’s mobile network operators. “Cybercrime is rampant across all the sectors including telecoms,” said Dr Jenfan Muswere, Zimbabwe’s Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister. Recently Europol estimated that $34 billion (€28.52 billion) annually is lost by MNOs to SIM fraud.

Unreported scandal

Most of these crimes go unreported but now the TTMS system will assist in combating telecommunications or fraud perpetrated through traffic refilling and the use of grey routes or illegal gateways in the conveyancing of international traffic, said Muswere. The new system also detects fraudulent activities and tracks down the perpetrators. It also provides a revenue assurance system that allows authorities to track traffic by operators in real-time, hence calculating revenue generated by each operator in real-time.

European fraud

Accoding to Andy Gent, CEO of SIM-fraud detection service Revector, mobile network operators (MNOs) the world over lose billions of euros a year to SIM-card fraud but ignore offers to stem the bleeding. In Europe it is down to the rigid compartmentalisationo of MNOs which creates an inflexible management culture. The organisational structure prevents departments from being able to collaborate easily and has created a sort of artificial intransigence.

SIMs suspicious

In a roaming analysis of one large European operator group, Revector found that in one month there was evidence that 12,000 SIM cards being used to defraud the company by buying capacity from the CSP then allowing others to hop onto it for nefarious purposes. The MNOs of Africa are less affected by these office politics legacies and could adopt anti-fraud services much quicker.