Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Aminu Maida, has revealed that SIMs not linked to National Identity Number (NIN) will be deactivated by the end of February.
Maida, who made the revelation during an introductory meeting with the media in Abuja, noted that the Commission was in the process of combating illegal Subscriber Identity Mode (SIM) in the country, adding that sanctions would be meted against identified culprits.
He also highlighted the collaboration of the NCC with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and relevant security agencies in telecommunication-linked crimes in the country.
However, Maida said although the degree of success achieved so far could not be celebrated openly yet, the commission is considering the deployment of satellite broadband to provide coverage across the country and drive the attainment of the 70 per cent broadband penetration target by 2025.
The EVC also warned that most SIMs not linked to National Identity Numbers will be deactivated by the end of February. He said: ‘Pre-registered or illegally registered SIM has been a challenge for a long time. In 2021, there was a policy to link NIN with SIMs, thinking that such would take care of the problem, but people in the value chain exploited the loophole. By the end of this month, SIMs without NIN will no longer work.”
On network tariffs and other irregularities on the part of licensed network providers, the EVC said the commission was equally collaborating with industry players. He, however, assured consumers of their loyalty, stressing that the NCC’s allegiance is first to Nigerians.
“We need to put a smile back on the faces of consumers. NCC is clear on this; we need to protect the interest of consumers. They remain number one because that is where you extract values from. Yet, the interest of licensed operators will also be protected while we put eyes on their activities to see the level of compliance.
“Be rest assured that the consumer is the number one priority for us, but I think we also need to understand that this is an industry that needs to attract investments, which means that the interest of the licensee as stated in the Act can also be protected.
“What we need to find is how to manage that delicate balance whereby the consumer is happy and the licensees can also get their return on investment, but number one is that the consumer has to be happy and right from the point where you are selecting the operator or service to use, it has to be seamless when you are using it, it has to work when you are engaging them for support, they have to be supportive,” he said.
The EVC said that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) had indicated a commitment to simplifying their tariffs to enable Nigerians to know what they are signing up for whenever they are purchasing data, adding that the commission is considering initiating a regulation that will formalise simplicity of tariffs by MNOs.