We didn’t see this coming. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stopped
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Internet Services (ISPs) from selling or activating SIMs.
Why this move?
The NCC intends to verify if all MNOS have followed the required standards for SIM registration.
Earlier this year, the NCC had asked all subscribers to get their National Identity Numbers (NIN) and submit to the network operators, a deadline it later shifted to 1st December 2020
Yes, this looks like it's happened before. As Victor explained
in an edition of the next wave.
“In 2010, the Nigerian government gave an ultimatum to telcos to properly register subscribers on its network or disconnect them. Five years later, MTN still had 5.2 million unregistered and connected subscribers.
So in November 2015, the Nigerian government slammed the MTN Group with a fine of $5.2 billion; arguably the largest in a historical context.
But the SIM card registration system that MTN got into hot water for is still in shambles
, and perfunctory at best. This is plainly a case of a system failure from the NCC.”
Looking at the current situation of things, Nigerians have had a hard time meeting the new SIM registration requirements.
Although it should take only between 1-5 working days for NIN to be ready after registration, the National identity Management commission has only enrolled
about 36 million Nigerians since it started the registration process in 2012. A far cry from the over 180 million
network subscribers recorded by NCC.
What might happen next?
Telecos being sanctioned again, a new deadline for subscribers to get their National Identity Numbers (NIN) and submit to the network operators.
: The demand for the inclusion of National Identity in the registration process by the NCC, although noble is beyond the Telecos and citizens. It involves the NCC working together with the National identity Management commission to ensure the NINs are discharged efficiently. Afterall citizens can’t give the telecos NINs they don’t have.