• Friday, April 12, 2024
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SIM-NIN deadline: Why your telephone line may stop working after July 31

SIM-NIN deadline: Why your telephone line may stop working after July 31

The Nigerian Communications Commission has stressed that all Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) and National Identification Number (NIN) linkage issues must be resolved by July 31, 2024.

This comes as the commission confirmed the extension of its initial April 15 deadline for linking SIMs to NINs. In its earlier circular, the commission stated that where less than five SIMs are connected to an unverified NIN, such NINs must be barred on or before April 15, 2024.

This would have ended a disconnection phase that started in February 2024. In 2023, the NCC asked telecommunication firms to disconnect lines that have not been successfully linked with a NIN across three phases.

It said, “All SIMs for which the subscribers have not submitted their NINs are to be barred on or before 28 February 2024.

“Where five or more SIMs are linked to an unverified NIN, they are to be barred on or before 29 March 2024. Where less than five SIMs are linked to an unverified NIN, they are to be barred on or before 15 April 2024.”

After successfully implementing the first two phases of disconnections, the NCC has now extended its last phase of disconnections. The two phases of disconnections affected an estimated 50 million lines.

Gbenga Adebayo, president of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), told BusinessDay recently, “I don’t have a cumulative figure as we speak, but it will be safe to say that by the time we add these numbers to the disconnection bucket, we will go more than 40 million; it might be nearing the 50 million mark.

“The reality is that the people who will be disconnected now will have more impact than the first set.” Sources in the commission told BusinessDay that the deadline was extended to allow telcos to link more lines to NINs.

“It will be the final extension. All issues about SIM-NIN must be resolved by then,” one source said. Another source explained that people with more than four SIMs on a network provider must choose the four they want to link before the deadline expires.

The NCC’s new SIM-NIN guideline mandates that individual subscribers have only four SIMs on each network provider. After this deadline, subscribers who have not successfully linked their SIMs to a NIN will be disconnected from making calls, accessing the internet, and using other telecommunication services.

These subscribers would need to visit their telcos before they are unbarred. According to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), over 104.16 million individuals had NINs as of the end of 2023, and there were 218.11 million active lines in the country as of January 2024.

According to the NCC, subscribers unsure if their SIMs have been linked to their NINs can dial *996# or wait until they receive an SMS confirmation from their operator that their NIN has successfully been linked to their SIM Card.