NCC Has Approved 1,492 Phones for Nigeria, But Why Does the List Exclude Devices Like iPhone 11 and Samsung s10?


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) approved 1,492 mobile phones for use in the country according to its latest data. These devices are of different brands and models and have been tested to have met the industry regulator’s Standards Type Approval required for them to be approved for Nigeria.

This is part of the commission’s conscious effort to ensure that phones to be sold to consumers are of good quality.

However, despite the NCC’s efforts, reports show that thousands of unapproved phone brands are still being sold and distributed across the country. According to the regulator, many of these devices are sub-standard or fake but are bought by users because of their cheap prices.

And this is no surprise, Nigeria has over 184.4 million mobile subscriptions as of December 2019, making it a good market for mobile manufacturers to send their devices to, approved or not. And beyond new devices, the economic condition of the country also opens up lots of space for fairly used phones from the UK, US and other parts of the world to thrive.

Image result for fairly used phones in Nigeria
Fairly used phones on display for sale.

As such, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, has urged Nigerians not to purchase phones that have not been approved for the market by the NCC.

Of the approved phones list, Chinese brands like Tecno, Huawei, and ZTE lead the pack of approved devices as well as new entrants like Oppo, Xiaomi, and Vivo.

But is the list comprehensive enough?

A quick check of the regulator’s site shows the approved list of handsets. True to its word, it has approved just 1,492 till date. But according to the site, the list was last updated in August 2019.

So in the last 6 months, the regulator hasn’t approved any device yet to be added to the list, despite the various releases by top phone manufacturers globally. Or is it done with approving?

Also, a quick search of the regulator’s ‘approved list’ shows a massive gap in approved devices. Apple’s phone brand for example, iPhones, have iPhone 7+ as the highest model approved. So what happened to 8 to 11 pro max?

NCC Approves 1,492 Phones for Nigeria, But no iPhone 11 and Samsung s10
Search results for approved iPhone devices.

Also, search results of Samsung, Tecno, Infinix and other widely used brands in Nigeria reveals the absence of models of phones produced in the last 2-3 years. For example, the Samsung s10 is missing from the list.

So is the industry regulator only approving old phones for Nigerians to buy or is it slacking in its duty of testing and approving phones for the Nigerian market?

While Nigerians largely won’t care since the list doesn’t stop them from using their preferred phones anyway, these however, are questions left unanswered by the commission.

If the NCC is to ensure that Nigerians comply by buying approved devices, it also needs to do its own part by readily approving devices.

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