The management of MTN Nigeria has apologised to its subscribers over the noticeable congestion in its service outlets across the country as a result of the ongoing SIM validation exercise.
The company said in a statement signed by its Corporate Services Executive, Akinwale Goodluck, that it is doing everything possible to ameliorate the conditions at the service centres.
“We wish to apologise to all our customers who are experiencing difficulty with the ongoing SIM registration/revalidation exercise. Affected customers can revalidate their registration details at all MTN sales outlets including the nearest agent and dealer shops. We appeal for calm as customers visit our various outlets. We are committed to ensuring that all affected subscribers complete the process as directed by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC),” Goodluck said.
He added: “It is for this reason that we have increased the number of staff handling SIM registration/validation across all our channels. We have also mandated all our registration outlets to remain open till 8pm every day until further notice.”
According to him, the decision to deactivate all lines with invalid or incomplete subscriber registration details was in compliance with the NCC directive. “It is to enable us provide maximum support to government in achieving the national interest objectives of the exercise,” he said.
While reiterating that SIM registration is free, he urged all MTN customers
in their interactions with MTN Channel Partners and agents, to be assured that in full compliance with NCC regulations, every element of the registration will be completed at once; and to report any fraudulent activity to the MTN manager in charge at the centres.
NCC had in August 4, 2015, gave all telecoms operators a seven day ultimatum to deactivate all incomplete and improperly registered SIM cards on their networks, for security reasons. Following the expiration of the one week ultimatum, the Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement Team of NCC, led by Mr. Efosa Idehen, commenced monitoring of all telecoms operators’ networks, to determine the level of compliance.
The team said it discovered 402 SIMs on the MTN network that were either improperly registered, or whose registrations were not complete. The team equally found 109 pre-registered SIM cards on the MTN network.
It found 37 pre-registered SIM cards on the Globacom network, 35 pre-registered SIM cards on the Etisalat network and 19 pre-registered SIM cards on the Airtel network. In line with the NCC Regulation 19(1) and 20(1) of the Registration of Telecoms Subscribers, it fined all the telecoms operators, N200,000 for each defaulting SIM cards on their networks, totaling N120.4 million, and ordered them to pay the fine on or before September 7, 2015.
NCC also ordered the operators to immediately deactivate all SIM cards that have incomplete registration, improper registration, as well as those that are pre-registered and are still active on their networks, or face further sanction.
The second threat of sanction may have prompted MTN to commence deactivation of all defaulting SIM cards on its network and to invite affected subscribers to its centres nationwide, for their SIM card validation, a situation that brought about unprecedented crowd of people in all MTN centres nationwide, which eventually caused congestion at the centres.