Wale Goodluck, Corporate Services Executive, Pascal Dozie, Chairman and Chief Victor Odili, Director, all of MTN Nigeria

By Kokumo Goodie, Abuja, Nigeria

Ahead of the September deadline set by the Federal Government through the regulatory agency, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for all telecoms operators in the country to conclude the registration of all subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in the country, leading operator MTN Nigeria has asked for more time for operators to be able to conclude the scheme.

Akinwale Goodluck, corporate services executive at MTN, spoke to Biztechafrica on the sidelines of a colourful ceremony to commemorate the 10th year anniversary of the operation of the firm in Nigeria. He said considering the huge subscriber population of the country, there would certainly be need for the NCC to extend the deadline by another six months.

“The SIM registration is going on. We at MTN are doing our best. The government will have to extend the September deadline by at least six months, for us to do a thorough exercise,” he said.

Nigeria’s subscriber population is nosing the 100 million mark.

Akinwale said SIM registration was good for the industry, stressing that MTN has deployed adequate financial and material resources to complete the programme.

Recalling the investment the telco has made in the last ten years, he said: “We have close to 7,000 base transceiver stations located all over the country, and we are still rolling out more. We have deployed one of the most expensive fibre optic lines (over 8,530km) and Microwave infrastructure (Y'ellobahn-11,500km) in sub-Saharan Africa.

In a dynamic market such as Nigeria, you cannot stop investing if you want to remain the leader. That is why we are committed to investing additional USD1billion to upgrade network in the country in the current year.”

He said the telco will not stop investing in the country.

NCC spokesman Reuben Muoka said at this stage, the NCC was sticking to the deadline of 28 September, 2011 for SIM registration.

He noted: "We cannot be talking about extension when have not even come to the point of expiration. People should simply go and register their SIM cards."

On doubts and rumours surrounding the registration process, Muoka dismissed claims that duplicate SIM registration was rife.

He said: "Once you register your SIM, you have no need for double registration. If you do and it is discovered at the point of collation, the system will simply use the names and numbers that were registered first."

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