IT/Telecoms

SIM-NIN Linkage: Airtel says 7.9m lines complied with NCC directive

Credit: Gistmania

Airtel Nigeria said about 7.9 million of its subscribers have successfully linked their Subscriber Identity Modules to their National Identification Number.

The second-biggest telecom operator by subscriber base disclosed this on Thursday in its financial report ending March 2024.

Meanwhile, 5.7 million customers were still in the process of verifying their NINs, the operator said.

However, it added that it was engaging with these customers to ensure a smooth verification process.

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The telco noted in its report, “Airtel Nigeria has complied with the directives issued and barred all customers without NINs as well as customers with more than 4 active SIMs, which had a very negligible impact on revenue.

“Currently, we are engaging with approximately 5.7m customers whose NINs have yet to be verified. Since the directive was issued in December 2023, 7.9m customers have already been verified.”

In December 2023, the NCC informed Airtel Nigeria, in an industry-wide directive, to undertake full network barring of all SIMs that have failed to submit their NINs on or before February 28, 2024.

Likewise, customers that have submitted their NINS but remain unverified are to be barred by July 31, 2024 (the earlier deadline was April 15, 2024).

Furthermore, guidelines were issued whereby no customer can have more than 4 active SIMs, and all such excess SIMs will be barred by March 29, 2024.

This directive is part of the ongoing Federal Government NIN-SIM harmonisation exercise requiring all subscribers to provide valid NIN information to update SIM registration records.

The operator reaffirmed its commitment to complying with regulatory directives and ensuring the security and integrity of its customers’ data. The SIM-NIN linkage exercise is aimed at enhancing national security and curbing fraud in the telecommunications sector.

“We continue to engage with the NCC and work closely with the relevant authorities to facilitate and accelerate the verification process to minimise the risk of service disruption to these customers while also limiting the revenue impact from our compliance with the directive issued,” Airtel noted.

Out of the 219 million active mobile lines recorded in March, according to the NCC, Airtel has 63 million subscribers.

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria, in its first-quarter 2024 financial report, said it had barred 8.6 million lines, while Airtel, Glo, and 9mobile are expected to follow suit, although specific numbers have not been released.

According to MTN, the country’s biggest telco by market share, the lines that have been fully barred are those of subscribers who did not submit their NIN and those with more than five lines linked to an unverified NIN.

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