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MTN Nigeria Disconnects Over 4.2 Million Lines for Failure to Link NINs

by Vicky Oselumese
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MTN Nigeria Disconnects Over 4.2 Million Lines for Failure to Link NINs

Many subscribers to the MTN network in Nigeria are currently facing issues as their lines have been disconnected due to their failure to link their National Identity Numbers (NINs) to their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and MTN Nigeria had previously issued warnings that subscribers must link their lines to their NINs.

According to MTN Nigeria’s Earning Report for the year ended December 31, 2023, over 4.2 million lines were disconnected from the network after the February 28 deadline set by the NCC.

The report also stated that 19 million lines on the network are currently being verified, with 4.3 million already verified as of February.

MTN Nigeria mentioned that the disconnected lines primarily belonged to low-value subscribers, minimizing the revenue impact.

The company is actively engaging with the authorities to expedite the NIN verification process and has increased its engagement with affected customers by providing various channels for verification to minimize service disruption.

This disconnection is part of an industry-wide directive that requires telecom operators to bar subscribers whose lines have not been linked to their NINs.

The NCC had directed MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9Mobile to fully bar phone lines not linked to subscribers’ NINs by February 28, 2024.

Even those who had submitted their NINs but were not verified were subject to barring. Industry sources estimate that approximately 12 million lines across various networks may have been disconnected after the February 28 deadline.

This has caused inconvenience for subscribers like Comfort Pepple, a stay-at-home mother in Rivers State, and Mama Nampar, a resident of the Qua’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State, who are unable to make calls or receive important calls.

MTN Nigeria’s CEO, Karl Toriola, highlighted the company’s commitment to engaging the authorities to expedite the NIN verification process.

He also mentioned the sustained growth in the user base and data subscribers, attributing it to strategic investments in network quality and coverage. In terms of financial performance, MTN Nigeria reported a loss for the full year 2023, mainly due to the devaluation of the naira and rising operating expenses.

The payment of tower lease costs, indexed to the US dollar but invoiced and paid in naira, accounted for a significant portion of the company’s foreign currency exposure.

The telecom operators and the NCC are actively working to streamline the verification process and minimize the impact on subscribers.

This article was updated 2 months ago

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