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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Blocking non NIN Linked SIMs to Cost MTN, Airtel N516 bn in Lost Revenues

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The directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to all telecommunications operators to block phone lines for subscribers whose SIMs are not associated with National Identity Numbers (NINs), will cost MTN Nigeria and Airtel a combined N516 billion in lost service revenues, MoneyCentral calculations from the Telco’s disclosures show.

MTN says it has complied with the directive and implemented the restrictions as communicated by the NCC, adding that about 47 million subscribers have submitted their NINs by 31 March 2022.

This represents approximately 67% of the Company’s subscriber base and 76% of service revenue as at Full Year 2021, according to MTN.

This means 33% of the Company’s existing subscriber base and 24% of service revenue will be lost to the restrictions equivalent to N397 billion, according to MoneyCentral calculations.

MTN Nigeria reported N1.65 trillion in service revenues in 2021.

Airtel for its part says it has collated NIN information for 73% of its active customer base which accounts for around 79% of its revenues from Nigeria.

In the latest results for the nine-month period to 31 December 2021, Airtel Nigeria had an active customer base of 42.4 million and posted revenues of $1.37 billion.

This means the restrictions will impact 21% of Airtel customers with no NIN-SIM linkage and cost the Telco around $287.7 million (N119.6 billion) in lost revenues.

“The impact on the business in terms of customer numbers and revenues is uncertain. However, our experience of adopting similar procedures in other countries suggests that SIM consolidation is likely to occur in response to implementation, potentially reducing any financial impact,” Airtel said.

The original regulatory directive set an initial deadline for customers to register their NIN with their SIM of 30 December 2020.

This was subsequently moved several times, with the latest deadline set for 31 March 2022. Nigerian Telco’s have now been notified by the NCC that with effect from 4 April 2022, all SIMs that have not been linked to a NIN will be placed on ‘receive only’ status with immediate effect.

Telco’s must link the NIN information received with the SIM of the respective subscribers and share the same with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

To complete the registration process, subscribers can still link their SIMs to their NINs in order that the restrictions can be lifted.

“We have made significant progress on capturing the NINs of our customers and building the database in collaboration with the NIMC,” Airtel said.

MTN Nigeria urged all its subscribers who have not yet linked their NIN to their SIM registration to do so immediately to lift the restriction. For MTN subscribers this can be done in five quick and easy ways: 1) text your NIN to 785, 2) dial *785*NIN#, 3) go to myMTNNG App, 4) visit www.mtn.ng or 5) download the NIMC app.

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