(Ecofin Agency) - Nearly 21 million telecom subscribers are still threatened with suspension of access to the telecom network in Nigeria. Gbenga Adebayo (pictured), the president of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria - ALTON, said on January 20.
He was reacting to government statements that claimed 47.8 million National Identification Numbers (NINs) have already been provided to telecom operators, three weeks ahead of the government's February 9, 2021 deadline for identifying all users of telecom services.
“We collected 47.8 million NINs at an average of three to four SIM cards per person. So, on a further average, we have about 3.5 SIMs per person and when multiplied by 47.8 million, that is about 167 million. Now if we take a lower rate, say an average of three SIM cards per person, it is about 143 million SIM cards,” Gbenga Adebayo said.
“If we take this number (143 million SIM cards) and compare it with the 207 million subscriber records that we have, then the numbers are not looking bad. Because you will be looking at about 63 or 64 million SIM cards that do not have NINs. And at an average of about three SIMs per person, it then means that we have about 20 to 21 million people without NINs yet,” he added.
Since December 14, 2020, Nigeria has been deploying measures to strengthen the identification of telecom subscribers. The country wants to put an end once and for all to misidentified SIMs for a national security matter.
With secure data, the government will be able to easily identify any phone number involved in illegal activities. This data will also enable it to produce clear forecasts on the evolution of the telecom market.