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SIM-NIN: 22 days after ban, Telcos lose N76bn, subscribers stranded

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Telecommunication companies have lost about N75.78bn as subscribers struggle to link their National Identification Number to the Subscriber Identity Module, about 22 days after the Federal Government directed telecom companies to bar defaulting consumers from making outgoing calls.

On April 4, the Federal Government directed telcos to restrict outgoing calls on all lines that had not linked their SIMs to NINs after the deadline for the verification exercise expired on March 31.

As a result, about 72.77 million active telecom subscribers were barred from making calls on their SIMs. Voice revenue is a major source of revenue for telecom companies. In 2021, MTN made N819.74bn from voice revenue, while Airtel made N397.91bn from voice.

According to the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, the industry Average Revenue Per User was N1,420 in 2020. This translates to about N1,041.33 per subscriber in 22 days.

According to the statement announcing the directive, subscribers whose lines are restricted can have them unrestricted once they link their SIMs to their NINs.

Meanwhile, sources in the telecom industry have said the process has not been seamless and that it is also impacting telcos’ revenue stream.

A source in the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria said the verification exercise had become a major challenge for the operators and the Nigeria Identity Management Commission.

PUNCH

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