Telcos Appeal to Subscribers over New SIM Card Suspension Order

Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami

Emma Okonji

Following the directive given by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, that all telecoms operators should suspend the sale and activation of new SIM cards on their networks, the telecoms operators (Telcos) said they would comply with NCC directive, as ordered by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami.

They however appealed to telecoms subscribers to bear the inconveniences that the exercise might cause them.

NCC had on Wednesday directed all telecoms operators to immediately suspend further sale and activation of SIM cards.

The Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, who announced the suspension in a statement issued by the Commission, said the action became necessary in line with the federal government desire to consolidate the achievement of the SIM Card registration exercise of September 2019.

NCC backed up the announcement with a letter it sent to all telecoms operators, and warned that non-compliance with the directive would be met with strict sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the umbrella body of licensed telecommunications operators in Nigeria, yesterday issued a statement informing the general public, including its partners that it had directed all its members to comply with the directive and to suspend further sale and activation of SIM card, until after the completion of the consolidation exercise for the audit of subscriber registration database.

In the statement, which was signed by its Chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo and its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Damian Udeh, ALTON appealed to telecoms subscribers to exercise patience until the audit was over.

Part of the statement read: “In line with the Federal Government desire to consolidate the achievement of the SIM Card registration exercise of September, 2019, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is to embark on another audit of the Subscriber Registration Database again. As a result of the above, the NCC has directed all telecom operators (telcos) to immediately suspend the sale and activation of new SIM cards on their respective networks to enable a smooth and seamless audit exercise. This suspension is expected to be lifted upon the conclusion of the audit and normalcy will again return to the sim acquisition and registration process by the NCC.

“ALTON regrets any inconveniences that this disruption will cause and seeks the understanding of Nigerian subscribers for a holistic alignment with federal government’s objectives in this regard. ALTON further assures the public of its members’ cooperation and compliance with this NCC and federal government’s directive, and will partner with them towards an expedited conclusion of the audit exercise.”