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HomeMisc NewsTech NewsMTN Nigeria suspends 19 mln mobile phone not link with NIN

MTN Nigeria suspends 19 mln mobile phone not link with NIN

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MTN Nigeria has suspended around 19 million mobile numbers in Nigeria following a government directive to bar calls from unregistered phone lines, the company’s chief executive said on Friday.

The government banned outgoing calls from unregistered numbers from April 4.

Around 51 million MTN Nigeria subscribers have linked their identification numbers to their SIM cards, CEO Karl Toriola told an analyst call.

The country’s telecoms regulator had in December 2020 ordered mobile phone providers to add their National Identity Number (NIN) – containing personal data identifying the user – to every SIM card registered in the country or block the SIMs.

The MTN group CFO said Nigeria is its biggest market, contributing about 35 per cent of group revenues, and the blocking of unregistered numbers could have a small impact on group revenues.

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Toriola said a flare up in the security situation in Nigeria after last month’s train attack in Kaduna, northwest Nigeria, could have triggered the government’s decision.

The government did not give a reason for the timing but the policy is part of its attempts to boost security amid an Islamist insurgency and a spate of kidnappings.

Airtel, one of Nigeria’s telecommunication providers on Thursday said that the ongoing implementation of the government policy on telephone subscriber SIMs linkage to national identity will cost the company 8 per cent of its revenue in Nigeria.

Since the government directed telecoms firms to bar outgoing calls of people who are yet to link their NIN with their SIMs, pressure on both the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and telecoms customer service has increased.

Industry officials said the number of subscribers trying to link their SIMs and NINs together had increased, piling pressure on the networks.

The increase has also negatively impacted the process and system of the identity agency, slowing down the registration process.

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