NIN-SIM linkage: Telcos lost 12 million internet subscribers in 2021

The Nigerian Communications Commission said on Friday that telecom companies lost a total of 12 million internet subscribers in 2021 due to the national policy on linking identification numbers.

NCC made this known in its latest report, titled 2021 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report.

The number of internet subscribers fell from 154,301,195 subscriptions in December 2020 to 141,971,560 subscriptions in December 2021, a decrease of 8 percent.

This was due to the policy to suspend the sale and registration of new SIMs across the country, according to the report.

As a reminder, in December 2020, NCC issued a two-week ultimatum to telecom companies to block SIM cards that are not registered with a national identification number.

Later, the federal government extended the deadline from December 2020 to January 2021 to allow subscribers with NIN to connect; while those without a NIN had until February 9, 2021.

According to the NCC report, subscriber count fell from 204,601,313 subscribers in 2020 to 195,463,898 active voice subscriptions in December 2021 “with a loss of 9,137,415 subscriptions”.

“This represents a decrease in total subscriptions of approximately 4.46 percent over the period under review,” he added.

“The decline in operators’ subscriber base has been attributed primarily to the impact of NCC’s December 2020 policy to all GSM operators to suspend sales and registration of new SIMS, SIM swaps and all porting activities.

“The aim of the test was to check and ensure compliance with the quality standards and requirements for the registration of SIM cards by the mobile network operators set by the Federal Ministry for Communications and the Digital Economy and the Commission.”

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“Nigeria’s teledensity decreased from 107.18 percent in December 2020 to 102.40 percent by December 31, 2021,” the report said.

In the reporting period, broadband penetration also fell from 45.02 percent in December 2020 to 40.88 percent in December 2021, according to the commission.

Similarly, broadband subscriptions decreased from 85,941,222 subscriptions in December 2020 to 78,041,883 subscriptions in December 2021.

Regarding data usage, the NCC said: “The volume of data consumed increased at the end of December 2021 compared to the year ended December 2020”.

“The total volume of data consumed by subscribers increased from 209,917.40 TB in December 2020 to 353,118.89 terabytes in December 2021. This represents a 68.2 percent increase in data consumption over the period.”

It added that the telecom industry’s contribution to gross domestic product was 12.45 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to 12.61 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021.