The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is charged with the general responsibility for the economic and technical regulation of the communications industry.
There have been a few developments and mandates issued by the NCC in the past few weeks, notable amongst the recent development is the ongoing audit of the subscriber registration database. The NCC has directed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to halt the sale of SIM cards until the audit exercise is concluded. The NCC also directed that owners of SIM cards in Nigeria are to complete registration with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and obtain digital identification which would be submitted to the MNOs.
Additionally, the NCC further directed that SIM cards that are not linked to National Identification Numbers (NIN) are to be blocked from the networks.
The recent pronouncement to halt the sale of SIM cards regrettably prevented users who need to replace lost SIM cards from being able to do so. To address the issue, the NCC on 1 January 2021 issued specific guidance note for the industry for SIM card replacement. The NCC’s SIM card replacement policy, requires subscribers whose SIM cards have either been lost, stolen, misplaced or damaged to satisfy the following conditions:
- That the subscriber present a NIN;
- That an effective verification of the NIN is carried out by NIMC; and
- That the relevant guidelines and regulations of NCC concerning SIM card replacement are fully adhered to by MNOs.
The exemption is a welcome development for users looking to replace their SIM cards.
In other news the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, has extended the deadline for the NIN registration by 8 weeks from 9 February 2021 to 6 April 2021. For more information, click here.