MTN Nigeria Says it Supports New Government SIM Registration Rules

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MTN, the multinational mobile telecommunications company, reassured its Nigerian investors on Wednesday that the country’s SIM registration rules will not have a huge impact on its finances.

This comes after the Federal Government ordered all telecommunication operators to bar all SIMs that are not registered with National Identification Number (NIN). The government made this call in 2020 after the country saw an increase in abduction incidents.

According to Tech Central, MTN shares tumbled 7.8% in Johannesburg on Tuesday as investors took fright at the decision by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to order mobile operators in Nigeria to bar outgoing calls from phone numbers not linked to the NIN system.

MTN said that its Nigerian subsidiary has made good progress in registering SIM cards to the NIN system — with about 47 million subscribers having submitted their NINs by 31 March, representing about 67% of the base, and 76% of service revenue for the year ended 31 December 2021.

“Outgoing voice revenue from the current subscribers who have not submitted a NIN amounts to about 9% of MTN Nigeria’s total FY 2021 service revenue on an annualised basis,” MTN said.

“For MTN Group, this would amount to approximately 3% of FY 2021 service revenue on an annualised basis,” the group said.

MTN Nigeria received a formal order from the NCC to implement a ‘phased suspension of services’ to affected subscribers. This suspension means that the affected subscribers will be placed on “receive only” status from 4 April 2022, meaning they can’t make outgoing calls from that day onwards. So all users that aren’t registered with the NIN will not be able to make calls, but they will be able to receive them from the 4th.

“In line with operating licence requirements, MTN Nigeria has complied with the directive and implemented the restrictions on only outgoing voice calls of affected subscribers. All other services remain available to all subscribers, including those that are yet to submit their NINs,” MTN said.

“MTN Nigeria supports the work being done by the federal government of Nigeria to build a reliable and sustainable national identity management system, which is a critical enabler that will deliver multiple benefits to the telecommunications industry and Nigeria as a whole. It will aid national economic planning and enhance security, governance, and service delivery at all levels,” it concludes.


By Zintle Nkohla

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