NCC CEO, Eugene Juwah
Telecoms operators have commenced the phased disconnection of unregistered SIM cards on their networks, following the directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to do so at the expiration of SIM card registration.
NCC had told all telecoms operators to end SIM card registration on June 30, and directed that all unregistered SIM cards must be deactivated at the expiration of deadline.
Operators had ended the exercise and have since commenced the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards in phases.
The Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo who confirmed this, told THISDAY that operators complied with its directive on SIM registration.
“The operators had actually commenced disconnection of unregistered SIMs on their networks and some of them are doing it in phases, because it is not something they have to complete at a stretch. It has to be done in phases because they are dealing with sensitive technologies,” Ojobo said.
Some of the operators also confirmed they had commenced disconnection.
The Public Relation Manager at MTN, Mr. Funsho Aina told THISDAY that MTN had already disconnected all unregistered SIMs on its network, in accordance to NCC’s directive.
Etisalat and Globacom also confirmed disconnection of unregistered SIMs on their networks.
Pleased with the action of the operators, Ojobo said all disconnected subscribers should go to the network of their choice to buy new SIM cards with new numbers and get them registered immediately. According to him, no disconnected SIM card would be reconnected.
“It was a 27-month period that the SIM card registration lasted in this country because NCC decided to listen to people who had always asked for extension. The registration exercise, which commenced in March 2011, was supposed to end in six months, but we kept extending the date from six months to 12 months, to 18 months, to 24 months and finally to 27 months and we are tired of shifting the post,” Ojobo said.
Although the action of operators was in line with the NCC directive, it was however against the wishes of telecoms subscribers who had called for extension of the registration exercise by additional three months.
The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON, led by its chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo on June 28, 2013, wrote to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, asking for a three months extension to enable the majority of subscribers that have not registered to do so. Similarly, the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), led by its president, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, wrote to NCC, asking for a three months extension.
Ogunbanjo, however told THISDAY that NATCOMs would further write to the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, to prevail on NCC to extend the SIM card registration exercise across all networks.