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63.97Mn Lines Disconnected From Networks By NIN-SIM Exercise – NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reported that a total of 63.97 million lines were disconnected in one year due to the National Identity Number-Subscriber Identity Module data verification exercise

The telecom sector’s regulatory commission in its data reported that the number of connected lines in the country dropped by 21.79 percent to 229,582,206 in October this year from 293,554,598 in October 2020.

Similarly, it reported that within the period under review, the number of connected lines totaling 328,114,538 was highest last August while the lowest totaling  229,467,077 lines was recorded in September this year.

A further analysis of the data produced by the commission indicated that the number of active lines decreased from 207,578,237 in October last year to 191,618,839 in October 2021, representing 15,959,398 or 7.69 percent drop during the one-year period.

In addition, the report also showed that 37,963,367 connected lines were inactive as of October this year compared to the 85,976,361 inactive lines  in the same month last year.

According to industry figures, the NIN-SIM verification exercise has been negatively impacting the operations of the telecom companies as they have been losing subscribers since the exercise commenced nationwide about a year ago..

For instance, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc had reported in its half-year financial statement this year that its “mobile subscribers declined by 7.6 million to 68.9 million, impacted by the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations.”

This is even as Airtel Nigeria,  had in its quarterly financial statements also reported that “new customer acquisitions were barred until significant progress had been made on linking the active customer base with verified NINs.

The MNO stated: “Natural churn in the customer base led to a loss of two million active mobile customers in Nigeria in the first quarter of the year (following on from 2.5 million customer loss in the final quarter of the year to 31 March 2021).”

It would be recalled that government had in December 2020 banned the sale and registration of new SIM cards and gave a 30-day deadline for subscribers to complete their NIN-SIM linkage process within the timeline

Based on the hitches and subscribers’ complaints on their inability to access registrations centres and hiccups in the operations of the opened ones,  government was compelled to extend the exercise to the end of  this year.

Prior to the December 2020 Federal Government’s ban on registration of new SIM cards,  the total number of connected lines nationwide stood at 300,042,650 while total number of active lines was 204,228,678.

 

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