— 2015 revenue forecast to be drastically effected
Telecoms operators have continued to incur financial losses to an average of over N1.2 billion every day, and N53 billion in the last 50 days as a result of the ongoing Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) re-registration ordered by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
At the inception of the re-registration order, NCC disclosed that about 38.78 million SIMs were found wanting and passed the buck to the telecoms operators to correct the anomaly.
Shortly after the announcement, about 10.7 million lines were barred.
If the amount is based on a breakdown level, with all the 38.78 million subscribers using a Short Message Service(SMS) once a day for N4 per text, the telcos would have been deprived of N156 million.
Voice calls service which is mostly used by subscribers cost the service providers N256 million as the subscribers are denied the chance to make just one minute call for a whole day at a minimal rate of 11 kobo (N6.60 per minute)
However, it is a known fact that many subscribers now patronise the data service to explore various social media platforms. On average, if an average of N20 is spent daily by each subscriber, the service providers would have lost N775.6m per day.
Going by the figures released by NCC, the telcos would have lost N1,187,600,000 on daily basis.
With the commencement of the exercise monitoring by NCC on August 3, 2015, 50 days have eaten into the registration order. This has raised the total sum of what the operators have lost between when the order was given and now to N53 billion.
In the same vein, a breakdown of the figure indicated that 18.6 million SIMs’ data were sent back to MTN; 7. 49 million sent to Airtel; 2.23 million to Globacom while 10.46 million were sent to Etisalat.
A further breakdown of the figures and financial losses indicates that MTN is expected to lose N74 million of SMS, N123 million of calls and N372 million of data in a single day.
For Airtel, it would lose N30 million of SMS, N49.4 million worth of calls and N150 million of data service.
It is no exception for Glo which recorded the least number of unregistered lines. The network would potentially lose N9 million of SMS service, N15 million worth of calls and N45 million of data.
Etisalat has N42 million to lose to SMS service, N69 million for calls, even as a whopping sum of N209 million is recorded against is data service.
Speaking with BH, the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers’ (NATCOMS) President, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said the effect of the SIM registration exercise is not only on the service providers, but also on the subscribers who have lost much more.
“The situation the network operators have found themselves and also put their respective subscribers was caused by NCC who contracted out the exercise. In a bid to meet the targets set by those contractors, some of the agents did a shabby job which we now suffer. In any case, the operators have been having a robust financial base over the years. They should also bear whatever they get now,” Ogunbanjo said.
On his part, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said the operators’ loss of some financial gains cannot be compared to the issue of insecurity challenging the country.
According to him, “Whatever the operators may be experiencing now cannot be compared to the lingering issue of insecurity facing the country. I don’t think the network operators are losing so much, because the deactivated lines are being reconnected by their respective networks.”
When the registration order was freshly issued with one-week deadline, the service providers were reluctant to disconnect the SIM cards earmarked by the regulatory agency for deactivation.
The delay to disconnect the erring subscriber has earned the operators a punitive measure which cost them a fine of N120 million.
It would be recalled that the need for registration and deactivation exercise was ordered by NCC as a result of the outcome of the meeting with the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Department of State Service (DSS), NCC and the telecom operators.
According to NCC, “The deactivation of SIM cards is in line with a meeting with the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Department of State Service (DSS), NCC and the telecom operators. Subscribers who fail to register properly will have their lines deactivated, but those who comply will have theirs’ re-activated.
“Proper registration means a subscriber’s facial picture, biometrics, finger prints, valid means of identification, address, among others are properly captured.”
Going by the stiff competition and challenges faced by the telecom industry, analysts posit that the telecom operators are in a helpless situation which would heavily affect them financially at the end of the registration exercise, as they would lose some of the respective subscribers.