In Four Years, Nigerians Buy 68.19 Million SIM Cards, NCC Says

In Four Years, Nigerians Buy 68.19 Million SIM Cards, NCC Says

  • The number of connected SIM cards in Nigeria has amounted to about 68.19 million between 2018 and 2022, NCC data reveal
  • The country's telecoms regulator stated that there were 238.12 million lines in existence in the country as of March 2018 and increased to 68.19 in 2022
  • Experts say a number of factors are responsible for the preponderance of SIM cards in the country such as new businesses and new expatriates in the country

According to data obtained from Nigeria’s telecom regulatory agency, Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerians bought about 68.19 million SIM cards between 2018 to 2022.

The Punch reveals that the NCC’s portal indicates that there were 238.12 million lines in connection in the country as of March 2018. This went up by 28.64 per cent to 306.31 million lines in connection as of March 2022.

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SIM cards, NCC, Nigerians
Nigerians buy over 68 million SIM cards in four years Credit: TimRoberts
Source: Getty Images

Nigeria sees millions of SIM cards activated in four years

Within the time under review, the number of connected lines went up mostly between March 2019 and March 2020 while 28.56 million were added, the data shows.

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The NCC also revealed that 12.15 million connected SIMs were added by the telecommunication companies between March 2018 and March 2019, whereas 28.56 million lines were added between March 2019 and March 2020.

18.71 million connected lines were added between March 2021 and March 2022.

The data also indicates that while connected lines spiked by 68.19 million in the period under review, the number of unused lines shot up from 89.26 million to 107.10 million.

There was also an increase in the number of active lines from 148.85 million in March 2018 to 199.20 million at the same time in 2022.

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Reasons for increase in connected lines

BusinessDay reports that GSMA, the global body representing telecom operators, said there were 97.5 million unique mobile subscribers in Nigeria as of September 2018.

According to the NCC, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) stated that some Nigerians own as many as three SIM cards.

Experts have stated the reason for the increase in the number of lines in the country, saying the creation of new business, the use of mobile internet data and expatriates moving into the country add to the burgeoning number of connected SIMs.

NCC reveals 107 million mobile lines inactive as of March 2022

Recall that has reported that Nigeria’s telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stated that a total of 107 million mobile lines connected to the four major operators of MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile and Globacom have become inactive as of March 2022.

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The data by NCC says that the four main operators had a combined 306.4 million subscribers by March this year.

According to Nairametrics, at the end of the month, active lines across the networks stood at 199.2 million, meaning the telecom operators were able to generate revenue from 65 per cent of their connected lines in the month under review.


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