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NIN-SIM linkage enforcement plunges Nigeria’s mobile subscriptions to 218 million  




Active subscriptions for mobile services in Nigeria declined by over 6 million in January this year to 218 million as telecom operators enforced the regulator’s directive of banning SIMs not linked with NIN. 

This was revealed in the latest industry data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). According to the data, active subscriptions across the four mobile networks of MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile stood at 224.4 million as of December 2023. 

With the decline in actively connected lines recorded by the operators, the country’s teledensity, which measures the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, also declined to 100.75 in January 2024 from 103.66% recorded in December last year.  

According to NCC, the teledensity is calculated based on a population estimate of 190 million. 


Source: NCC 

Analysis of the industry data shows that the decline in the country’s mobile subscription database was caused mainly by MTN, which lost 7.2 million subscriptions in the month.  

Meanwhile, Airtel and Globacom recorded marginal gains in their subscription database for the month despite the ongoing disconnection exercise.  

Airtel, which recently overtook Globacom as the second-largest MNO, gained 767,887 subscriptions. This pushed up its database to 62.6 million in January from 61.8 million in December last year. 

Globacom also recorded an increase in its subscriptions as its database grew by 321,869 to 61.9 million from 61.6 million in December.  

However, the fourth mobile operator, 9mobile, recorded a decline for the month. The company’s subscriptions declined by 135,788 to 13.7 million in January this year.  

According to a directive issued by the NCC in December last year, all telecommunications operators in Nigeria, including MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, among others are to implement full network barring on all phone lines for which the subscribers have not submitted their national identification numbers (NINs) by February 28, 2024.   

In addition, those who had submitted their NINs but have not been verified are also to be fully barred.    

On NINs that have been submitted but not verified, such lines are to be barred on or before 29 March 2024, where five or more lines are linked to an unverified NIN. 

Similarly, where less than five lines are linked to an unverified NIN, such lines are to be barred on or before 15 April 2024.