• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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SIM-NIN: 40 million telephone lines blocked, says telcos

What to know about NIN-SIM deadline

Over 40 million lines may have been barred by telecommunication operators following the expiration of the February 28 deadline to link Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) with National Identity Numbers (NINs).

Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), disclosed this on Sunday. He noted that telcos have complied with the disconnection notice of the Nigerian Communications Commission.

“I can also tell you that over 40 million lines have been blocked, and the affected customers are those who didn’t submit their NIN at all.”

“Over 40 million is what is safe to say,” he added. Adebayo highlighted that these subscribers did not submit their NINs to operators. The NCC asked telecom operators, in December 2023, to implement a complete network barring of all SIMs that did not have submitted NINs.

The regulator asked telcos to bar SIMs that have not submitted their NINs by 28 February 2024, in the first phase of disconnections.

In its financial statement, MTN Nigeria revealed that it disconnected 4.2 million lines after the February 28 deadline.

It said, “We also had approximately 4.2 million lines disconnected for which the subscribers did not submit their NIN. Several of these lines were low-value subscribers, minimising the revenue impact.”

When the telcos first implemented a partial barring of lines in April 2022 as part of their first act of compliance with enforcing the SIM-NIN rule, over 72.77 million active telecom lines were barred. At the time, the country had 197.77 million active telecom lines.

As of December 2023, the country had 224.21 million active lines. Telecom operators under the aegis of ALTON also stated that more lines are at risk of getting barred by the end of March. The NCC’s December directive asked telcos to bar lines whose NINs have been submitted but not verified by 29 March 2024 and bar those with less than five lines linked to an unverified NIN by 15 April 2024.