April 16, 2024
  • April 16, 2024
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March 4, 2024

Telcos disconnect 40m telephone lines, to bar more SIMs

By Upfrontdigital News 0 122 Views

By Favour Unukaso

BY last weekend, telecommunications operators have barred about 40 million Subscribers Identification Modules (SIM) cards not linked to owners National Identity Numbers (NIN).

The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), which disclosed this, said more telephone lines would be barred by the end of March.

ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, who revealed this, said: “Over 40 million phone lines were barred by telecommunications operators during the weekend following the expiration of the directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission mandating customers to link their Subscriber Identity Module cards with their owners’ National Identity Numbers.”

Adebayo said all individuals slated for disconnection have been removed as per the ultimatum in accordance with the decisions made by the regulatory bodies.

Adebayo, ALTON boss

“I can confirm to you that over 40 million lines have been blocked and the affected customers are those who didn’t submit their NIN at all. So, some persons have not presented any NIN to operators. They haven’t registered their SIMs or participated in the harmonisation programme. They simply haven’t made any presentation of the NIN number to their operators and those were the persons blocked. So why the number is alarming despite repeated warnings, it shows many people still communicate but are not registered,” he stated.

He further explained: “The barred numbers are largely those, which have been on ‘Receive Only’ since 2022. They are either numbers that receive calls only, or lines used for data devices including, smart devices, electric meters, car trackers, MiFi and Wi-Fi devices. Those are the ones that largely constitute the over 40 million now.

“Because they are actually, not voice making calls, they are left on ‘Receive Only’. So, they can actually still do data communication, but not voice.”

The ALTON boss emphasised that the weight of the disconnection has not actually come, “By March 30, people, who have submitted their NINs but still have some queries on the NIN will have their services disconnected.  So, when you see people say we have submitted NINs and all of that and they are still telling us to come and do verifications of our NINs, I will say they should better do it, otherwise by March 30, 2024, people with more than five MSISDN associated with their names and NINs will be disconnected if not verified then. That is actually when the weight of this whole process would come. There would be more that 40 million lines that would be affected at the end of this month.”

Ogunbajo, NATCOMS President

MEANWHILE, the President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, has called for a month extension for those yet to link to complete the process.

Ogunbanjo said previous regimes at NCC used to listen to consumer complaints an act accordingly.

“The telecoms sector is the only sector still putting smiles on the faces of so many Nigerians. Nothing is from electricity sector, which is so messed up, telecoms industry is the only perfect example of privatization and remains the only one so far.

NCC EVC, Maida

“We are appealing to NCC EVC, Dr. Maida to look into the matter. Every other sector is connected to the telecoms sector. The hardship in the country would increase because some lines are used for businesses. This should not be the resumption of office gift the EVC is giving to subscribers. Previous EVCs always listen to subscribers. We only asked for extension till March 31, just one month grace, not three this time around.”

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