MTN disconnects lines of 4.2 million Nigerians after SIM-NIN deadline

MTN Nigeria has disclosed that it disconnected 4.2 million lines following the expiration of the February 28 deadline to link Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) with National Identity Numbers (NINs).

MTN disclosed this in its audited financial results released on Friday, March 1, 2024.

The company said the lines disconnected were those for which the subscribers did not submit their NIN

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According to the company, since December 2023 when NCC issued an industry-wide directive requiring full barring of subscriber lines not linked to their NIN, it had subjected a total of 19 million lines to verification.

Out of these, it said 4.3 million have been verified and 4.2 million disconnected as of 28 February 2024.

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The company, however, noted that the disconnected lines would not affect its revenue as the users were of low value.

“Several of these lines were low-value subscribers, minimizing the revenue impact. We are actively engaging the authorities to accelerate the NIN verification process.

“We have also increased our engagement with the affected customers, providing various channels for verification to minimize service disruption,” MTN stated.

Commenting on the company’s performance in 2023, MTN Nigeria’s CEO, Karl Toriola, said the company maintained strong commercial momentum in its connectivity business and platforms, supported by the growth in the user base.

“We added over 4 million subscribers in 2023, bringing our total base to 79.7 million. We also increased our data subscribers by over 5 million to 44.6 million, which helped to drive total data traffic growth of 44.9%.

“This reflected the sustained growth in demand for data, supported by our compelling propositions to customers and the consistent investment in the quality and coverage of our network.

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“The additional 2600MHz spectrum we acquired in September 2023 also helped us to deploy additional capacity to our network more efficiently,” Toriola said.

The NCC in December last year issued a directive to all telecommunications operators in Nigeria, including MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, among others are to implement full network barring on all phone lines for which the subscribers have not submitted their national identification numbers (NINs) by February 28, 2024. 

In addition, those who had submitted their NINs but have not been verified are also to be fully barred.  

On NINs that have been submitted but not verified, such lines are to be barred on or before 29 March 2024, where five or more lines are linked to an unverified NIN.

Similarly, where less than five lines are linked to an unverified NIN, such lines are to be barred on or before 15 April 2024. 

According to the directive, all affected subscribers must be verified (biometrics and biodata) before their lines are unbarred. 

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