Telcos lost 12 million subscribers in 2021 over NIN-SIM linkage 

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo

Telecommunication companies lost a total of 12 million internet subscribers in 2021 owing to the policy of  National Identification Number and SIM linkage.


This was according to the Nigerian Communications Commission in its latest report released on Friday titled, “2021 subscriber/network data annual report.”


The report revealed that internet subscribers in 2021 declined by 8 percent from that of 2020. Subscribers in 2020 were 154,301,195 and reduced to 141,971,560 in 2021.


Based on the report, the decline was a result of the directive that caused the  suspension of sales and registration of new SIMs across the country.

This publication recalls that in 2020, NCC gave telecommunications companies a two-week ultimatum to block SIM cards that had not been linked to National Identification Numbers.

However, the deadline was extended by the Federal Government from the initial December 2020 deadline to January 2021.


The NCC report said for active voice subscriptions,  “subscriber number decreased from 204,601,313 subscribers in 2020 to 195,463,898 as of December 2021 with a loss of 9,137,415 subscriptions.”


The report added that “This represents about 4.46 per cent decline in total subscription within the period under consideration.”


“The decrease in operators’ subscriber base was attributed majorly to the effect of the directive from NCC in December 2020 to all GSM operators to suspend the sale and registration of new SIMS, SIM swaps and all porting activities.


“The objective of the audit exercise was to verify and ensure compliance by mobile network operators with the set quality standards and requirements of SIM card registration as issued by the federal ministry of communications and digital economy and the commission.”


“Nigeria’s teledensity decreased from 107.18 per cent as of December 2020 to 102.40 per cent by December 31 2021,” the report said.


Speaking about the usage of data, the commission said, “There was an increase in the volume of data consumed in the year-end December 2021 when compared with the year ended December 2020.


“The total volume of data consumed by subscribers increased to 353,118.89 terabytes as of December 2021 from 209,917.40TB as of December 2020. This represents an increase of 68.2 per cent in data consumption within the period.”

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