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Connected phone lines hit 306.31 million amid SIM-NIN ban

The total number of connected GSM lines rose to a seven-month high of 306.31 million in March despite restrictions hampering Subscriber Identity Module activity because of the National Identification Number–SIM exercise.

According to the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission, the total number of connected GSM lines rose to 306.31 million in March, while active lines rose to 199.20 million.

The data revealed that the total number of inactive lines, which are lines not in use by their owners, is now 107.10million.

The number of recorded connected lines in March is the highest since 328.12 million lines was recorded in August 2021. In September 2021, the number of connected lines was 229.47 million; In October 2021 it was 229.58 million; in November 2021 it was 299.97 million; in December it was 304.05 million; in January 2022 it was 305.62 million; and 303.64 million in March.

The Federal Government’s SIM-NIN verification exercise has led to subscriber loss for telecommunication companies. MTN and Airtel have attributed losses in the number of their subscribers to the SSIM-NIN exercise in recent earnings announcement.

In its most recent announcement, MTN Nigeria said, “Although our mobile subscriber base declined by 1.9 per cent Year-on-Year from 71.5 million in March 2021 to 70.2 million, we sustained the growth trajectory from Q4 2021 as we ramp up capacity for SIM registration and NIN enrolment.

“As a result, we added 1.7 million subscribers in Q1 2022. In addition, active data subscribers rose by 10.5 per cent YoY to 35.9 million, with 1.6 million added in Q1 as we continued to drive data conversion from our new and existing subscriber base.”

Recently, the Federal Government announced the implementation of the SIM-NIN policy, effectively barring outgoing calls from about 72.77 million active telecom subscribers. When making the announcement, the total number of active GSM subscribers was 197.77 million.

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