Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

MTN Nigeria adds 12 million subscribers

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Mar 2, 2021

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MTN Nigeria, the country’s biggest mobile operator, added 12.2 million subscribers to its network in the year to December 2020, bringing the total number of subscribers to 76.5 million despite the government’s suspension of unregistered SIM cards in the fourth quarter of the year.

MTN Nigeria chief executive Ferdi Moolman said yesterday that the suspension of SIM registrations in the fourth quarter last year had affected subscriber growth. “The introduction of additional subscriber requirements, and the suspension of the sale and activation of SIM cards towards the end of the year, affected subscriber growth,” said Moolman.

Moolman said a total of 48.7 percent of MTN Nigeria’s subscriber base, representing 37.2 million subscribers, had submitted their National Identification Number (NIN) for linkage, as MTN raced against the clock to meet next month’s government deadline.

“We are working with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to complete bulk registration of the NINs collected. This requires improved integration with the NIMC database, the development of which is at an advanced stage,” Moolman said.

In early December, the Nigerian Communications Commission suspended the sale and activation of new SIM cards and in mid-December ordered all mobile operators to block SIM cards that were not registered with valid NINs by December 30.

The suspension of new subscriber acquisitions continues. The initial December 30 deadline was extended to April 6, to accommodate logistical challenges. Moolman said MTN Nigeria had made progress towards NIN registration, and had started enrolment in 36 centres as it worked with the authorities to expand its enrolment centres and provide access points for as many Nigerians as possible.

“To this end, we have acquired more than 15 000 enrolment devices, which are being configured for this purpose, and placed orders for additional ones,” said Moolman.

MTN shares closed 3.55 percent higher at R75.27 on the JSE yesterday.


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