Last-minute rush for Nigerian SIM reg

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Ahead of the 30 June deadline for Nigeria’s national subscriber identification module (SIM) card registration in Nigeria, subscribers trooped out en masse to do last minute checks on whether their cards had been registered or not.

Sadly, a good number of them received the shock of their lives: their SIMs had not been registered.

A visit to the customer care centres of the four global system for mobile (GSM) communications in the country showed that the few available centres were filled to capacity by subscribers who were there because they had received disquieting information about the state of their SIM card registration.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had since stopped the agents it contracted to carry out the exercise on its behalf, while the number of those hired by the operators have paled out into insignificance in recent times.

One of the SIM registration agents at MTN, who identified herself simply as Yemi, said that these past weeks, especially since Monday, people have being trooping out to register their SIMs. She said that the deadline given by NCC really aroused the consciousness of the subscribers to register their SIMs.

A subscriber who identified himself as Uche Chukwuma said he had come to register his SIM so that his mobile phone lines would not be blocked, adding that he considered the NCC’s threats to be empty. “The operators will never allow that to happen because they know what they are making on the customers,” he said.

A visit to the Etisalat experience centre on the Lagos Island also showed crowds of people there to register their SIMs.

What was amazing there was that one of the subscribers said that her SIM card was blocked even though she hasn't registered it wondering why it should happen that way.

But the agent doing the registration politely but vehemently told her that it was not possible or logical for the operator to block any subscriber’s line because operators make money when people talk on their network.

But she said people have been coming to register their SIMs to prevent them from being blocked.

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