Number of registered SIM cards in Nigeria rise to 323m in Feb
Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Damabatta


Some operators in the telecommunications industry have started sending short message service (SMS) to some of their subscribers urging them to regularise their data with the network.

This is coming ahead of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) notice of subscriber identity module (SIM) card registration audit of all mobile operators,

However, stakeholders express worry over the continuous challenge operators are facing in effectively capturing and storing data of their subscribers and call for review of the process to address the anomalies that have led to sanction for none compliance.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, expressed confident in the SIM registration process and however, put the challenge on the management of huge volume of data by operators.

“I disagree that data collected by operators are inaccurate, auditing the process is a normal process considering the number of data involved, and size of the fill data. The system won’t be forever as we are in the regime of improving the data collected,” he said.

On the competence of roadside SIM registration agents, Adebayo urged for strict compliance to NCC’s guideline on SIM registration by operators’ agents.

“We need to improve on the mechanism for checks and balances in this process, it is very important,” he added.

Also speaking, President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), According to Engr. Olusola Teniola, said “the main issue has to do with different data sets and databases adopted to implement the SIM registration process.

“The lack of a national database for verifying Nigerian citizens is the major cause for the SIM registration data to be used as a pseudo workaround. Until we have a proper addressing system in place integrated with a reliable identity database then the reliance on matching field records in SIM registration data with NIMC will be an ongoing process for the foreseeable future.

“It is important to note that a SIM registration data only acts as a KYC to identify a subscriber which needs to be checked for validity, veracity and minimum requirement stipulated by NCC. “On the way forward in the SIM registration, Teniola said: “This is part of the ongoing exercise that NCC is undertaking. Correct KYC information requirements are expected to ensure that the integration of SIM data works with NIMC data.

“Data is key to this process working and education is also needed to ensure consumers are aware of the minimum requirement to register.”

He however, attributed the issue of the use and sale of pre-registered SIM a very serious issue that could be solved by operators barring all outgoing calls from a SIM until a SIM is properly registered.

NCC said in the statement on the audit, “The audit is specifically to monitor operators’ strict adherence to the technical and other specifications for the subscriber registration as prescribed by the NCC’s Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations of 2011 and the Technical Standards and Specifications issued by the commission in 2011 and subsequently thereafter.”

It added that the audit was without prejudice to the on-going ‘backend verification and scrubbing’ of SIM registration data already submitted to the commission by MNOs such as MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9Mobile and Ntel.

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