If the court order demanding two months extension of NIN-SIM registration stays, it would have been five months of no SIM registration and activation in the country.
The implications of this are that mobile network operators (MNOs) would have lost about ₦25 billion to the process as a result of inactive SIM cards, which would have increased by 9.6 million, at an average of 3.2 million lines per month, aside from those previously lost.
Checks by The Guardian revealed that between December 2020 (when the Federal Government gave the directive stopping operators from activating both new and old SIM cards that require re-activation) and February, while relying on the statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), about 7.6 million lines had become inactive, which had resulted in the loss of about N10.8 billion, going by the industry Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of ₦1,420.
Recall that between December 15, 2020, and January, telcos lost 3.3 million lines. Within that period and February, the number rose to 4.3 million.
The inability of subscribers to reactivate their lost SIMs and activate new ones is not sitting well with them, as more customers have continued to lament this challenge.
Speaking with The Guardian, a subscriber, Joke Aliu, said she lost her phone having two SIM cards on December 30. “Those two lines are majorly for businesses, till now I have not been able to reactivate them. Thank God I have one other line, which is what I have been using, almost three months now.”
Another subscriber, Nduka Okafor, said he was robbed in traffic on Ikorodu road on January 20, “they took my business line. The robbers later took some money from my account. If not that I was faster to block some of the bank accounts linked to that SIM, they would have rendered me bankrupt. I have not been able to reactivate the line. I think the government should look into the matter fast.”
Okafor said after he got his NIN and went to the network operator to reactivate the stolen line, “I was turned down. They said FG has not lifted the ban on SIM reactivation.”