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

MTN Ghana blocks 5.7M unregistered SIMs

Article Image
MTN Ghana says it is on track to shut off services to approximately 5.7 million subscribers who have not properly registered their SIM cards as part of a government enforced registration process that has been going on for over a year.

MTN Ghana said it is following a directive from the National Communications Authority (NCA) to block data services to SIM cards that have not completed the mandated registration process, and would deactivate the users by end of December 2, 2022 .

The whole process began back in October 2021 when the Ghanaian government introduced a new law that required mobile customers to link their SIM cards with their national identity card – known locally as the "Ghana Card" – or risk being disconnected.

The NCA's deadline said that subscribers who had only completed stage one of the registration process (linkage to Ghana Card) but not stage two (biometric capture) needed to be blocked by November 30, 2022.

Compliance complications

At the end of November, MTN Ghana had 22.1 million subscribers that had completed stage one, of which 16.4 million had also completed stage two of the subscriber registration process, leaving 5.7 million that had not completed the process.

The telco said its deactivation process is within the NCA allowance to implement the deactivation directive within three days of the deadline.

"The affected subscribers represent approximately 3% to 4% of MTN Ghana service revenue on an annualized basis, and less than a percent of MTN Group service revenue," the company said in a statement.

"MTN Ghana remains committed to supporting the Government of Ghana’s efforts to continue driving subscriber registrations and has implemented several initiatives to accelerate the process," MTN continued.

Last week, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications confirmed that local operators including MTN and rivals AirtelTigo and Vodafone would have to completely deactivate SIM cards by the end of November of users who have either not registered their Ghana Cards or only partially registered.

Game over for unregistered SIMs

Last month lobby group The People's Project (TPP) sued the NCA and the Attorney-General over the ongoing SIM card re-registration exercise. They wanted the apex court to declare the deadline and the associated punitive measures null and void.

However the deactivation of SIMs was found to be fully legal and the High Court in Accra ruled in favor of the NCA citing that the regulator has the full legal mandate to conduct the SIM registration exercise.


Want to know more about telco financials, regulation and deals in Africa? Check out our dedicated Business of Tech content channel here on Connecting Africa.


The country's registration deadline had been moved a few times since its inception in October 2021. In October 2022, the government warned that it is illegal for vendors to pre-register and sell SIMs and that those breaking the law could face up to five years in prison.

Several African countries have been changing and modernizing their SIM registration processes. Similar drives in Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, and Lesotho have taken place to get SIMs linked to national ID cards.

Related posts:

*Top image source Image by Freepik

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

African tech startup funding hits $3.3B in 2022

Investment in Africa's tech startup ecosystem passed $3 billion for the first time in 2022, with Nigeria taking the biggest piece of pie and fintech dominating other sectors, according to a report from Disrupt Africa.

Story

Connecting Africa Podcast: S2 Ep. 4 – Agri-fintech, from kibbutz to Kenya

The Connecting Africa Podcast team speak to Israeli-Kenyan startup Avenews' co-founder and CEO, Shalom Ben-Or, about his fintech super-app that has been built specifically for Africa's agriculture industry.

More Innovation hub

Flash poll

All polls

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on inclusivity with Digital Council Africa's Juanita Clark

Digital Council Africa founder and CEO, Juanita Clark, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and what needs to be done to make the tech industry intentionally inclusive.

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

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

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up