MTN Nigeria And Aftermath of Barred Lines
By Mene Prosper
Communication is key to the survival of humans. It is also necessary for the day-to-day activities of every individual and the telecommunication industry places an important role in connecting the world and making it a true global village.
Recall on Tuesday 4th of April 2022, the telecommunication operators in Nigeria enforced the directive of the Nigerian communications commission (NCC) in conjunction with the National identity management commission (NIMC) to bar all subscribers that were yet to link their National Identification Number (NIN) to their lines. So far about 72 Million lines were barred from making calls.
The idea of linking SIMs to NIN was initiated in 2020 to curb the high rate of crimes and insecurity in the country. The reason stated by the federal government is that most crimes are perpetrated through online telephony and with the aid of NIN linked to SIMs, it will be easy for concerned authorities to monitor the illegal moves of suspects before they are apprehended.
So far the extension of the deadline for NIN linkage to SIMs has been ten times until the recent action was taken.
MTN Nigeria, a telecommunication firm, a few days ago suggested that the compulsory barring of lines from outgoing calls on lines that have not been linked to a National identity number may affect approximately 9% of its revenue.
According to online reports, the firm attested to making 9% of its total revenue in 2021 from lines barred from making outgoing calls.MTN as a telecommunications giant in Nigeria has the largest percent of subscriber base.
In a notice to the company’s investors, it said, “Outgoing voice revenue from the current subscribers not linked to a NIN was approximately 9% of the total revenue for FY2021”
In response to this, MTN Nigeria advised subscribers to link their NIN by dialing *785*NIN#, visits www.mtn.ng, or download the NIMC app.
In addition to the notice addressed to the company’s investors it said, “The Company has deployed more than 4200 points of enrollment across the nation to support the NIN enrolment drive.
According to the research, a lot of complaints have been lodged so far concerning the barring of unlinked lines. Some subscribers had issues with linking their NIN and others who have linked their SIMs complain that their lines are still banned.
MTN in response to the development apologised to affected subscribers, stating that it was a directive from the federal government and asked affected numbers having issues with linking their lines to send in their numbers for rectification.
Developments from recent interviews with some residents of Ikotun area of Lagos State prove that NIN registration and validation has become a ‘cash cow’ business as registering centres ask subscribers to pay exorbitant prices.
According to a subscriber’s comment, “NIN registration and validation costs about 4000 to 5000 naira”. The affected subscribers are left with no other choice other than to pay the gruesome fees imposed on them by NIN Registering Centres in order to communicate with their families, friends, business associates, and others.