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Sources: NCC asks telcos to bar SIM cards not linked to NIN

There will be no shift in the March 29, 2024 deadline for phone subscribers to link their SIM cards to their national identity numbers (NINs), TheCable understands.

An official of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) informed TheCable on Friday that the telecommunication companies have been directed to bar owners of more than four SIM cards whose registration failed to match their NIN data.

“We are not standing back on our decision. March 29th is sacrosanct. Our resolve is hinged on the need to close in on the chaos of untoward ownership of multiple SIM cards with unverified NIN details. We have instances where a single individual has over 10,000 lines linked to his NIN. In some cases, we have seen a single person with 1,000 lines, some 3,000 plus lines. What are they doing with these lines?” the official told TheCable.

“From our interim findings, the owners of these lines did not purchase them for decent purposes or to undertake legitimate activities.

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“We have given them enough time to make the decision of which of their lines they want to keep, and discard the others. They did not. All lines in this category with unverified NINs will be barred. They will be then expected to go to their operators and decide which of the lines they want to keep, as well as submit correct NIN details.

“Some people would say they want to use it for car trackers, or for IoTs, but provision has been made for these services already. They are not under the ‘Max-4 Rule.’

“Across the world, no country allows you to have 1,000 SIM cards to make calls or texts.”

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The Max-4 Rule announced by the federal government in April 2021 provides that telecom subscribers cannot have more than four lines per mobile network operator.

The NCC has also provided mobile network operators an extension till July 31 2024 within which they are expected to verify all NINs submitted by subscribers with four or less SIMs, as well as bar those whose NIN fails verification with NIMC.

The NCC management arrived at the decision at a meeting it held Friday morning to review requests from the major mobile network operators requesting for extension for the verification of NINs submitted, TheCable was informed.

The official also stated that the commission is mulling the idea to approve an online application solution for operators where their subscribers whose NIN verification failed owing to biometric mismatch can update their records on the app, while existing subscribers can register additional lines.

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