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Telecom commission dismantles network ‘stealing phone services’

By Mohammad Ghazal - Jun 26,2016 - Last updated at Jun 26,2016

AMMAN — The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) on Saturday said it had seized an illegal telecommunication network which had caused millions of dinars in annual losses to telecom operators in Jordan. 

The illegal network was designed to steal international calls, the TRC said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

The network was built, run and operated by an employee of a telecom company in Jordan, the TRC said. 

The suspect used SIM box devices and distributed them in several areas in Amman as well as Salt and Ramtha, the commission said, adding that it seized the network in cooperation with the security apparatuses.

A SIM box is an unofficial voice over IP gateway that is used to illegally bypass standard network interconnections in order to make traffic appear to the recipient of a telephone call as a local call. 

This causes big revenue losses to telecom operators and affects subscriber services and experience.

SIM box fraud occurs when individuals or groups purchase SIM cards that offer free or low-cost calls with the intent of using them for international calls. 

The SIM cards are then used — via special devices — to channel long-distance or international calls away from mobile network operators and register them as local calls on their networks, costing operators significant losses in international phone call revenues, according to Revector, a UK-based anti-fraud company.

“The usage of these devices is illegal and the person did not obtain any necessary licences from the TRC,” the commission said.

TRC Chief Commissioner Ghazi Jbour said the commission is keen to enforce the law to protect the interests of users and telecom operators.

He stressed that it is illegal to use SIM box devices, adding that the TRC will continue its campaign across the country to crack down on any violations that affect the economy and the revenues of the government and operators.

 

In 2011, one local mobile operator lost JD5 million as a result of “SIM box” fraud alone, while several Jordanians were arrested for involvement in the fraudulent usage of mobile SIM cards, according to the Public Security Department. 

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