The Nigerian Communications Commission has disclosed that unregistered SIM cards in the country will be blocked in March.
The Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Eugene Juwah stated that the NCC is currently ongoing the data harmonization exercise with the mobile networks which is slated to be finalized in February. Unregistered subscribers will have their lines blocked 30 days after that.
According to Juwah, “The SIM card data is currently being uploaded at NCC onto our backend servers. So, it is a huge effort. There are operators who have registered 40 million subscribers and there are some who have registered less. Therefore, it takes time to upload these heavy data.
“It contains details in words, pictures, fingerprints and all of that. I can tell you that to upload something like 20 million subscribers will take weeks. So, we are about concluding the uploading, though, we are a little bit behind schedule. But there is nothing you can do when some of the operators are having difficulty in uploading the data.”
After the harmonization exercise, registered subscribers will be enrolled in an automatic verification exercise.
The NCC boss also disclosed that SIM registration is an ongoing exercise and “even if we bar the subscribers from registration, we still need to give them the opportunity to register their SIM for them later as a condition to be able to make call.”
Also the NCC disclosed that Number Porrtability will take effect from September of this year. Portability is the innovation that allows mobile network subscribers to move from one Network provider to the other in a seamless manner and without changing telephone numbers.
Juwah stated, “By the first week of February, we are issuing licences to our operators of number portability in Nigeria. Having issued these licences, the operators will have six months to build the infrastructure with an extra two months to test the facilities, making a total of eight months.
“We expect that most likely, the number portability service will start in September this year. The licence that is being issued is quite clear on that.”