Nigeria telcos disconnect millions of unregistered SIMs


Nigeria mobile telephony

from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – A DIRECTIVE by Nigeria to network operators to disconnect lines not linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) scheme led to a 6,3 million decrease in active mobile lines in January 2024.

This represents a 3 percent drop from the previous month, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which ordered the disconnections the very same month.

A leading market watcher noted the month-on-month reduction in January brought an end to the upward trend in mobile connections that started in September 2023.

In the same vein, the number of internet connections declined slightly by 1,3 percent monthly to 162 million during the same period.

Consequently, the country’s teledensity dropped to 109 percent in January 2024 from 112 percent in December 2023 while internet penetration fell slightly to 81 percent from 82 percent over the same period.

“The loss in mobile lines can be attributed to the NCC’s directive to network operators to disconnect lines that have not been linked to NIN,” stated Tunde Abidoye, Equity Research Analyst at FBN Capital.

MTN Nigeria suffered the largest customer attrition in January, with a net subscriber loss of about 7,3 million to 79,8 million subscribers.

Nonetheless, MTN retained its market dominance, with a market share of 36,6 percent at the end of January.

The government commenced implementation of the SIM/NIN harmonisation programme at the end of 2020. This programme requires all telecommunications subscribers to link their NINs to SIM registration records. This is to address security concerns

The sector however continues to benefit from the robust growth of the major network operators due to double-digit growth in all revenue segments.

“Looking ahead, we expect growth in the sector’s service revenues to be driven by modest growth in all business segments, particularly data and fintech,” Abidoye said.

– CAJ News

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