Nigerian Telecoms Operators Deactivate Unregistered Lines

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With the expiration of the deadline for mobile phone users to register their Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) card on Sunday, telecoms operators have started deactivating unregistered numbers, Daily Trust learnt yesterday. The telecoms industry regulators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) declined plea from operators and subscriber groups to make another extension of the deadline.

MTN Nigeria yesterday confirmed to Daily Trust that it has indeed commenced deactivation of unregistered numbers in its network. Funso Aina, a Public Relations manager at MTN Nigeria in a text
message to our correspondent in Lagos yesterday said, “Yes, we have disconnected a lot of lines that were not registered by 30th June but we can’t confirm the numbers for now.”

There have been perceived reluctance on the part of operators to disconnect their unregistered subscribers fearing revenue loss.

However, with the refusal of the NCC to grant an extension, the almost two year old exercise came to a close on Sunday which the federal government say is meant to improve security in the country. They also were not forthcoming with the number of lines they have so far disconnected for not registering.

Daily Trust correspondent observed that many subscribers were yet to know the exact status of their numbers given that many who had registered their SIM cards kept receiving deactivation threats and some indeed got deactivated yesterday.

A subscriber on Airtel network, Olakunle Allison who is currently being denied access told Daily Trust that he called the network customers care and was asked to visit any Airtel shop to register his
SIM. Allison said he had registered his SIM card months back. The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), led by Engr. Gbenga Adebayo had appealed to the NCC to extend the exercise by three months, citing huge number of people yet to be
registered.

He told Daily Trust last night that, “We have not heard from them (NCC) and if NCC should continue, what it means is that there will be mass disconnection because those who have not registered will be
disconnected while those who have even registered may be affected.” NCC’s spokesman Tony Ojobo told Daily Trust last night that telecoms operators were supposed to have disconnected any subscribers who had refused to register their SIMs as the NCC had directed them to do.

He also reiterated that the commission was not going to extend the registration exercise beyond the deadline even for a day. He had said those calling for extension are not serious as the government duly gave two years for all subscribers to get registered.

“Is two years not enough to register their SIM cards? I think those calling for extension are not serious; we gave two years for the exercise and yet they said we should go on with it,” he queried.

He reiterated that unregistered SIM cards would be deactivated from central switch, cutting their owners off from making or receiving calls.

source: Daily Trust

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