Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

Nigerian SIM rules keep biting into MTN subs

Article Image
Nigeria's SIM card registration regulations are still hurting user growth for local telcos, with MTN Nigeria losing 7.5 million subscribers year-on-year (YoY) for the quarter ended September 30, 2021.

Over the past year Nigeria's government has been intent on getting every SIM card in the country linked up to a National Identification Number (NIN). The government deadline for mobile operators to link registered SIM cards to people's NINs has now been extended to the end of 2021 – the eighth deadline since the process started back in December 2020.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said that at the end of October there were 66 million unique NIN enrolments, with an average of three to four SIMs linked to each NIN.

"The NIN-SIM verification process is supporting the Government's drive to develop Nigeria’s digital economy, strengthen our ability to protect our cyberspace and support the security agencies," the NCC said.

MTN Nigeria now has about 67.5 million subscribers in Nigeria, compared to 68.9 million at the end of June 2021, and subs have dropped about 10% since September 2020.

Despite the overall drop in users, MTN Nigeria's Q3 trading update showed that active data users increased by 8.1% YoY to 33.2 million.

"While our overall subscriber numbers have continued to decline over the last quarter, this has been at a reduced rate, and we have seen our data subscriber numbers return to growth, increasing by 2.5 million," said MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola.


MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola (Source: MTN).
MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola (Source: MTN).

"We expect the decline in the overall subscriber base to bottom out and return to positive net additions in Q4 2021 as we progressively ramp up our SIM registration and activation infrastructure while adopting and aligning with the new regulations," he added.

MTN said that as of October 28, 2021, approximately 39 million subscribers had submitted their NINs, representing around 57% of the subscriber base and 67% of service revenue.

Revenue resilience

Service revenue was up by 23.7% to N1.2 trillion (US$2.93 billion) for the first nine months of the year and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 27.4% to N634.5 billion ($1.55 billion).

"The resilience we are building in the business is reflected in our performance, demonstrating our ability to achieve continued growth despite the ongoing impact of SIM registration and activation restrictions on subscriber growth," Toriola said.

MTN Nigeria is also seeing strong growth in other areas – with data revenue climbing 51.5% YoY; fintech revenue up 55.2%; and voice revenue ticking up 10.6%.

Related posts:

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

KaiOS targets merchant market for growth, digital inclusion

KaiOS Technologies, the creator of a mobile operating system for smart feature phones, is piloting affordable merchant payment terminals - which look like feature phones - in Africa to help underserved merchants and transport providers accept digital payments solutions.

Story

Ilara Health aims to improve quality of care in Kenya

Kenyan healthtech startup Ilara Health aspires to improve the quality of care in the country's clinics by providing equipment financing and digitizing facilities with its software.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Leadership Lessons: The importance of mentorship for career growth

By Nollie Maoto

Nollie Maoto, First Rand Group's compliance chief data and analytics officer and Africa Tech Festival Leadership Council member, reflects on the importance of mentorship for career growth for African women in data analytics.

Story

Omdia View: May 2024

By Omdia Analysts

May 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included African 5G subscriptions surpassing 5 million, growth from SpaceX's satellite Internet service Starlink, and a major fiber partnership in the Middle East and North Africa.

More Guest Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Cyber Revolution Summit
August 9, 2024
Gaborone, Botswana
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 12-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Follow us on X

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002