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MTN Nigeria’s Internet Subscribers Drops over NIN-SIM Issues

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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MTN Nigeria, the nation’s top mobile network operator, experienced a notable fall in its internet subscriber base, a development which was mainly due to the challenges of the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN)-SIM card integration exercise.

A policy on mandatory NIN-SIM connection was implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in December 2020, aimed at verifying the identities of SIM card users and fighting insecurity.

MTN Nigeria’s Internet Subscribers Drops over NIN-SIM Issues

The process has been marked with logistical bottlenecks and technical glitches that caused frustration and service disruptions for many subscribers.

A Drop in Figures

Industry reports suggest that MTN Nigeria suffered significant losses in terms of internet subscribers in Q1 2024.

The specific numbers are yet to be officially released by the NCC but industry analysts think that the drop could be hundreds of thousands.

This follows a similar reduction experienced at the end of 2021, which coincided with an intensified drive for NIN-SIM registration.

Problems of Subscribers

A lot of concerns have been expressed by MTN subscribers with regard to the NIN-SIM integration process.

A great many have had difficulties getting their NINs because of delays in registration and backlogs at government offices.

There were also those who had trouble linking their existing SIM cards to their NINs, having to endure long wait times on customer service hotlines and technical errors on online registration platforms.

This is an interruption of services that affects individuals and businesses equally.

Students who depend on mobile internet for online learning, professionals working remotely, and entrepreneurs doing business online are all affected by the reduction in connectivity.

Related: 4.2 Million Lines not Linked to NIN Disconnected by MTN

Response from MTN

MTN Nigeria has accepted the difficulties that its customers have encountered and taken steps to solve them.

The company has postponed the deadline for NIN-SIM registration several times and has put in place more staff at registration centers to fast-track the process.

MTN has invested in improving its online registration platform and launched awareness campaigns to inform subscribers about the NIN-SIM linkage process.

Looking Ahead MTN’s efforts are praiseworthy, yet a seamless and effective NIN-SIM integration remains a major factor in restoring subscriber confidence and reversing the downward trend of internet subscriptions.

Cooperation between NCC, mobile network operators, and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is key to simplifying the registration process, solving technical issues, and ensuring clear communication with the public.

Potential Long-Term Impacts

The trend of a decrease in the number of internet subscribers in Nigeria could have far-reaching consequences for the digital economy of the country in the long run.

Diminishing online penetration may slow down e-commerce, online education and other internet based sectors.

Moreover, a drop in mobile data revenue may adversely affect MTN’s financial performance as well as its capacity to invest in network infrastructure and service extension.

Final Thoughts

The NIN-SIM integration was an approach with good intentions, but it had negative effects on MTN Nigeria’s internet subscriber base.

In the course of striving for a secure and prosperous digital environment, there is a need to deal with the challenges that come with NIN-SIM linkage.

A collaborative and effective approach should be taken so that subscribers can move seamlessly and disruptions to Nigeria’s digital development are minimized.

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Oluchukwu Ikemefuna
Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

Oluchukwu Blessing Ikemefuna, a talented content writer from Anambra, Nigeria, found her writing passion in secondary school. Holding a degree in Biological Sciences from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, she specializes in blog writing across technology, finance, healthcare, education, and lifestyle sectors. With strong research and SEO skills, Oluchukwu creates engaging content globally. Her work aims to inspire and engage authentically while driving action. Outside work, she enjoys travel, reading, and movies as she grows as a skilled writer.

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