Abuja mobile phone users rush to register SIM cards to beat deadline

GSM operators in Nigeria

June 30 is the deadline set by the NCC.

Scores of Abuja mobile telephone subscribers on Saturday trooped into MTN, Globacom and Etisalat offices, to register their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards ahead of the June 30 deadline.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently announced that subscribers who failed to meet the SIM cards registration deadline would be disconnected.

It listed such cards to include those used on telephone, data-enabled devices such as Fastlink Internet, iPads, laptops, Point of Sale terminals, Automatic Teller Machines and car-tracking devices.

A correspondent, who visited the MTN headquarters in Abuja, reports that it was a beehive of activities as subscribers were seen eagerly waiting to be registered.

An official who pleaded anonymity said that the idea was not about being disconnected, but compliance to the NCC regulation. He said the turnout showed that Nigerians valued the benefit of communication, adding that compliance was encouraging.

“The issue is not about being disconnected from service providers, it has to do with NCC regulation of registering all lines, and the penalty is that after the deadline, calls from unregistered SIMs will not go.

“Our offices in all parts of the country will be opened till Sunday, to enable all those willing to get registered have the opportunity to do so.

“In Abuja, we are having a carnival-like event and road shows to bring registration closer to everyone.”

Also, at the Globacom Office in Wuse, a registration officer, Yinka Adu, said that registration in recent weeks had increased compared to the past.

She said this also showed the attitude of Nigerians not taking things seriously until the last minute.

“We have had to register more SIMs this week compared to the past few months; you see, people rush here out of their supposed busy schedules, because they do not want their lines disconnected,” Ms. Adu said.

At the Etisalat office in Wuse, Abuja, a registration officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that most of its subscribers had been registered,

“I can confidently say that most of our customers are registered; the people you are seeing here are those who came to update their information.

“At least, 95 per cent of our subscribers have so far been registered,” he said.

One of the subscribers on the queue, Adamu Waziri, said his service provider kept sending him messages to register his SIM, at an interval of five minutes.

“I received the message that my SIM was not registered a couple of weeks ago but I ignored it.

“I later took the message seriously and created time out of my busy schedule just to meet up with the deadline,” Mr. Waziri said.

Another subscriber, Ngozi Nwaora, said she had registered her SIM last year, but got messages that she had not registered.

“I registered in June last year, at one of the registration points in Garki Market; I am here today to fulfill all righteousness.

“I don’t want to lose this line, I am a business woman; most of my clients have this number,” Ms. Nwaora said.

NCC officially launched SIM card registration on March 28, 2011, to facilitate the collation of data by the commission on phone usage in Nigeria.


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