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

Hot startup of the month: Rwanda's Smart Ikigega

This month's hot startup, Smart Ikigega, wants to revolutionize the rural agricultural trade ecosystem in Rwanda by helping farmers access finance and harvest insurance.

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 Innovation hub

Sponsored video

More videos

Flash poll

All polls

Latest video

More videos

Africa Tech Perspectives

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.

Story

Survey: Opportunities for Women in Tech

Take our new survey for women across Asia, Europe and Africa looking at the biggest challenges and opportunities for women-led enterprises and trends in tech careers for women.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

More Guest Perspectives

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up