Nigeria’s largest telecom provider, MTN has revealed that over 50% of its subscribers have not submitted their National Identification Number (NINs) for linkage.
In its recently released Q4 report, MTN reported that just 37.2 million subscribers representing ~ 48.7% of its subscriber base have submitted their NINs.
This means that over 39 Million of MTN’s reported 76.5 million subscribers stand the risk of being disconnected after the federal government’s deadline next month.
NIN-Sim Card Linkage
Recall that on 15 December, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had ordered telecom operators to block SIMs not registered with NIN by December 30.
However, complaints and the large number of Nigerians without NINs have led to an extension of the deadline, not once but twice. First, the deadline was moved from December 2020 to February 2021 and then later by two months to April 6, 2021.
With the new deadline approximately a month away, MTN has revealed that it is collaborating with the NCC and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that its subscriber records are updated.
It explained that it has made significant progress having collected over 37 million NINs.
Can MTN meet the April 6 deadline?
In the wake of NCC’s order for telcos to block sim cards not integrated with NIN by the end of 2020, Nigerians swamped NIMC offices to carry out their registrations and obtain their NINs.
Technext reported that thousands of Lagosians trooped to Alausa office to complete their registrations.
Despite the massive crowd congestion at several NIN enrolment centres, many mobile subscribers were unable to link their NINs, thereby forcing the FG to extended the deadline to April 9.
To hasten the registration and linking process the government unveiled the NIMC mobile app and also gave telcos permission to carry out NIN registration.
While the NIMC mobile app allows subscribers to link their NIN to SIM, it does not enable NIN registration, which is the most important aspect of the sim link process.
The granting of NIN enrolment licences to telcos has, however, shown great progress. Telcos such as MTN, Glo and Airtel have reportedly commenced NIN registration at a few selected retail outlets.
MTN reported that it has commenced enrolment in 36 centres across the country. It also revealed that it was working with NIMC for bulk verification of the NINs collected.
It also added it is working with NIMC and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to expand its enrolment centres and provide an access point for as many Nigerians as possible.
While this new approach appears to be working, the tens of millions of subscribers that still needing Sim-NIN linkages makes it very unlikely that all subscribers will have summited their NIN before the deadline.
The commission disclosed that a total of 56.18 million NINs have now been collected by mobile network operators. This leaves up to 13 million out of a possible 59 million mobile subscribers without NIN-SIM linkage.
Most of the MTN-NIN centres are still not enough to address the millions of unregistered Nigerians. An MTN enrolment centre which Technext visited registered between 10 – 20 people per day.
This is still very small compared to the total number of people that still need to be registered.
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