Despite submitting their National Identification Numbers for verification, Airtel and MTN Nigeria allegedly barred 9.7 million of their subscribers from making outgoing calls.
In their most recent earnings report, MTN and Airtel disclosed that 16.2 million subscribers who had their lines barred had submitted their NINs for verification, but only 6.5 million had been verified as of September 30, 2022.
Following a Federal Government directive regarding subscribers who had not linked their SIMs and NINs, over 72.77 million GSM lines were barred from making calls on their SIMs in April.
It said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), “has approved the implementation of the policy with effect from April 4, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.
“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage policy from April 4, 2022.”
The ban affected 19 million and 13.6 million subscribers, respectively, according to MTN and Airtel. The telcos also stated that the policy’s implementation has had an impact on their revenue.
Airtel said, “In April 2022, the voice services for 13.6 million customers were barred due to non-submission of NIN information.
“As of September 2022, 5.7 million customers (42 per cent) have subsequently submitted their NINs and 2.7 million customers (20 per cent) have been fully verified and unbarred. Revenue growth for the first half of the year was impacted by the effect of barring outgoing voice calls in Nigeria for those customers who had not submitted their NINs.