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NIN-SIM integration: Telcos fear data inconsistency as verification begins

Telecommunications operators in the country are foreseeing inconsistency in subscribers’ data as they begin verification and integration with the National Identity Number (NIN) database. According to them, this may require affected subscribers to update their data with their network service providers. Speaking through their umbrella body, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the operators said they had all established various systems to enable subscribers with existing NINs to add their NIN’s to their SIM registration profile.

They added that options deployed for customer ease and convenience included USSD strings, apps, and other selfservice online portals, walkin stores, and customer care lines. The Chairman of ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, however, noted that issues may arise in the process of the in-tegration of the SIM registration database with the NIMC database.

“It is important to note that we do expect that when SIM registration details are verified against the NIN database, there are likely to be inconsistencies in some of the data captured e.g. Spelling, order or number of names captured, etc.,” he said.

Adebayo added that “where such inconsistencies are found, the operators will notify subscribers and provide a quick and easy mechanism to update SIM registration data and ensure alignment.” According to the ALTON chairman, all mobile network operators have now received an enrolment and verification license from the NIMC or via the NCC, legally enabling them to verify NIN’s provided by customers and to enrol citizens into the NIN database.

Recall that the Federal Government had recently directed all subscribers in the country to provide valid National Identification Number (NIN) to update their SIM registration records. The submission of NIN by subscribers, the government said, was to take place within two weeks, from December 16, 2020, and end by 30 December 2020, after which all SIMs without NIN were to be blocked.

The government, however, extended the deadline by six weeks following an outcry from subscribers and stakeholders. Adebayo commended the government for the extension of the deadline, noting that operators were pleased with the decision.

“To provide operational steer, representatives of NCC, NIMC, ALTON, and MNOs will also be meeting regularly to review progress, identify challenges, develop solutions and generally continue to enhance the process to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of our customers while making significant progress towards our collective objective. We are pleased to see the recently announced extension of the deadline for registration and reiterate our commitment to ensuring the maximum level of compliance possible within the set timeframe,” he said.

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