Telecommunications operators, MTN and Airtel, said they had received a total of 58.2 million National Identification Numbers (NINs) from their subscribers. This figure, according to the telcos, was as of April 30, 2021. Specifically, MTN, which is the largest operator by subscriber number, said it had received 35 million NINs as of last month, while Airtel recorded 23.2 million submissions.
The collection of NINs by the telecom operators followed government’s order to the effect that the Subscribers Identity Module (SIM) registration database should be linked with that of NIN database.
While government had earlier fixed February 19, 2021, as deadline for the linkage, after which unlinked lines would be blocked, it had extended the deadlines several times, the current being June 30.
Speaking on the efforts of the telecom operator in compliance with government policy, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Karl Toriola, said the company had been collaborating with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to update subscriber records with the National Identity Number (NIN).
“Thus far, more than 35 million subscribers have submitted their NINs as of 30 April, 2021, representing approximately 50 per cent of our subscriber base and 63 per cent of service revenue. We are also actively supporting government’s NIN enrolment programme, with 182 points of enrolment active across the country. We are working with NIMC to increase the enrolment centres to provide an access point for as many Nigerian as possible,” he said.
Airtel, in its latest financial report, also disclosed that it had received NINs from 23.2 posmillion subscribers. “To date, out of Airtel Nigeria’s 42.0 million active customers, we have collated NIN information for 23.2 million active mobile customers,” the company said.
Airtel, however, noted that it had to verify the collected NINs from NIMC to complete the registration process. “For the still significant proportion of the population and our customers that do not have a NIN, we have opened enrolment centres in collaboration with NIMC and we are in the process of rolling out thousands of devices to further NIN enrolment.
We continue to work closely with the government to ensure full compliance,” the company stated While noting that the initial ban on acquisition of customers affectedd its customer base, leading to loss of 2.5 million subscriptions, it said the action had little impact on its revenue.
“Natural churn in the customer base led to a loss of 2.5 million active mobile customers between January and March this year. However, the financial impact has been minimal, with continued revenue growth in Nigeria, due largely to the significantly lower ARPU of the churned base and increased usage by the active base.
“In April, NCC announced that it would allow new customer enrolment to recommence from certified outlets Airtel Nigeria has so far received interim approvals for 800 outlets and new customer registrations have recommenced in those outlets accordingly,” it stated.
Announcing another extension of the NIN-SIM linkage exercise earlier this month, government had noted that the postponement earlier from May 6 deadline was based on the request by stakeholders for an extension till June 30, 2021 to make it easier for all citizens and legal residents to register.
“Furthermore, the telecom providers and other enrolment agents have also opened several centres across the country to make it easier for eligible citizens and residents to obtain and link their NINs