Economic Hardship Forces Nigerians to Abandon SIM Cards as 100 Million Phone Lines Risk Deactivation

Economic Hardship Forces Nigerians to Abandon SIM Cards as 100 Million Phone Lines Risk Deactivation

  • Current economic hardship may trigger millions of Nigerians to drop the use of multiple phone networks
  • Based on economic realities, many Nigerians now prefer to manage the use of one phone network
  • This will however result to the deactivation of over a hundred million inactive phone lines

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There is a growing number of inactive phone lines on various networks in Nigeria. If this is not addressed, it may be necessary to deactivate up to 100 million of them by the end of the year, a source said.

This follows a report by that the NCC recently issued a new guidelines to telecommunication companies in Nigeria to improve customers’ experience and relations.

NCC, abandoned phone lines, SIM
The NCC reported that the number of idle or abandoned lines on the MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile networks have increased. Photo credit - Technext, WIRED
Source: UGC

As of late December, the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, reported that the number of idle or abandoned lines on the MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile networks increased from 94.4 million to 95.2 million in January and then increased again to 96.7 million in February.

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According to the source who conveyed the information to The Nation the number may reach 100 million by the end of the year due to ongoing global macroeconomic and geopolitical developments regarding energy, food, and spiraling inflation, all of which devalue the value of consumers' disposable per capita income.

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This could be an indication that Nigerians are spending their money on more important needs, and sticking to one or two sim lines that can be managed.

How users become inactive

An NCC new policy on "Draft Quality of Service Business Rules" states that a subscriber may lose their number if they are inactive for additional six months, unless there is a network-related issue preventing the activation of the Registered Glove Enclave (RGE).

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A subscriber’s line may be deactivated if it has not been used, within six months, for a Revenue Generating Event (RGE), and if the situation persists for another six months, the subscriber may lose their number, except for a network-related fault inhibiting an RGE.

However, the rule specified that customers whose lines may have been recycled must provide documentation of a valid excuse for their absence in order to regain the lines and are free to request line parking.

The Commission proposed that mobile network operators (MNOs) offer the call initiator a single short-beep two minutes before the call is due to stop and another beep 30 seconds before termination in the domain of credit alert alerts.

A low-credit notice should be sent at the start of a call if it cannot last for up to 30 seconds. This is in accordance with Section 57 of the NCC Act, which has been published allowing stakeholders to comment on the policy.

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The regulator further stated that MNOs must make sure that clients are promptly assisted when they contact a helpline or go to the offices of their service providers.

How to Check If Your NIN Has Been Successfully Linked to Your MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile SIM earlier reported that the barring of some SIMs from making outgoing calls by telecom companies in line with the federal government's directive has again brought to the limelight the importance of the National Identification Number (NIN).

After repeated extensions of deadlines, the federal government on Monday, April 4, ordered telcos to block lines yet to be linked with NIN from making calls.

Over 70 million subscribers have been affected by the development. Many of them are now linking their SIM to their NIN in order to regain access to making phone calls.


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