Nigeria Witnesses a Drop in Registered SIMs Lately

In March, Nigeria experienced a significant decline of 630,000 active mobile numbers, attributed to providers disconnecting clients who had not linked their SIM cards with their National Identity Numbers (NIN).

Nigeria Witnesses Drop in Registered SIMs Lately
Nigeria Witnesses Drop in Registered SIMs Lately

This move was part of the regulatory directive aimed at enhancing security measures and reducing cyber and violent crimes, including terrorism and kidnapping.

The latest data from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) reveals that West Africa currently boasts 219.3 million active lines, showcasing the region’s growing telecommunications landscape.

However, the March dip in Nigeria’s active mobile numbers resulted in a slight decrease in teledensity, falling to 109 percent from the previous month’s 110 percent.

Tunde Abidoye, Equity Research Analyst at FBN Capital, highlighted the impact of the NIN-SIM linking regulation on the monthly decrease in mobile lines. Abidoye emphasized that network operators had enforced disconnections for lines not linked to NINs, aligning with the government’s efforts to bolster security measures nationwide.

Proactive Measure 

MTN Nigeria (MTNN) emerged as the dominant player in the Nigerian telecom market, commanding approximately 37.4 percent of total active users.

Following closely behind were Airtel and Globacom, holding subscriber market shares of 28.9 percent and 28.4 percent, respectively. Despite being the smallest GSM company, 9Mobile still maintained a notable 5.3 percent market share.

The SIM/NIN harmonization initiative, introduced in 2020, mandates all subscribers to link their ID numbers to SIM registration records. This proactive measure underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing security and combating cyber and violent crimes across Nigeria.

As market dynamics remain relatively stable in terms of share composition, the telecom sector continues to play a crucial role in driving connectivity and fostering socio-economic development in the country.

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