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

InDrive enters Zimbabwe's Bulawayo

Ride-sharing platform InDrive is expanding its services to Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo after successfully introducing its services in the capital of Harare in May this year.

Story

Five African healthtech startups to watch

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of five African healthtech startups that have been making an impact in the lives of the communities they serve and are worth keeping an eye on in 2023.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Sponsored video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Africa Tech Perspectives

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.

Story

Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

Nextv Series Africa
October 4-5, 2023
Hotel Sky Sandton, Johannesburg
Africa Tech Festival, Home of AfricaCom and AfricaTech
November 13-16, 2023
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: August 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in August 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included a commercial 5G launch from Ethio Telecom and the signing of a virtual wheeling agreement between Vodacom South Africa and Eskom – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: February 2023

By Omdia Analysts

In February 2023 key events in the Middle East and Africa included a major Internet project for Africa's underserved by Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Microsoft as well as a 5G launch in Tanzania – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id I-0000192