In a move to address security issuesabout mobile telephony in the country,the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that the sale of SIM cards on

Mobile subscriber registration on the way

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In a move to address security issuesabout mobile telephony in the country,the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that the sale of SIM cards on the streets will no longer be permitted from March 1, 2010.

The NCC also says that the operators have been directed to ensure that all currently active SIMs on their respective networks be registered. New SIMs will require registration before activation. Documents like I.D. cards and passport photographs will be required for subscriber registration.

Before the advent of GSM technology in Nigeria, all existing telecoms companies required subscriber registration. Since then, things have changed quite a bit, such that even lines on CDMA networks can now be purchased off the street by anyone without any identification whatsoever.

A serious result of this is that criminal elements find it easy to use mobile communications without a trace. Subscriber registration will certainly go a long way in curbing this.

Of course, subscriber registration and the barring of sale of SIMs on the streets also means that the networks will experience a slower rate of subscriber increase, but we are guessing here that this slower expansion will translate to better quality of service for existing subscribers.

The last few years have witnessed the mobile landscape being littered with promo after promo and huge traffic spikes during such promos. Hopefully, the mobile lottery jamboree will abate (if only a little) as well with this new policy from the NCC.

In all, Mobility Nigeria welcomes the new move to register mobile subscribers.


  1. Just another futile exercise…how many people have actual ID’s we all know the National Identification scheme was a botched exercise right..for me i have nothing against the whole thing, i gave MTN my details a few years back during the MTN4U farce

  2. My only concern with the registration thing is people’s privacy. We don’t want to turn into places like America where the government can eavesdrop on the citizen’s at will. I also fear that new forms of crime like identity theft will emerge when we have a situation where a 080XXXX belongs to Mr ABC and Mr ABC cannot change that number by just buying a line by the roadside.
    Let’s hope I am wrong.

  3. ok ok… sounds like a good idea huh? what of that my aged uncle in the deepest recess of my local government. he is illiterate and and his only link to the world is through a mobile. He doesn’t have an ID card and will most probably be hesitant to register. How do we reach such people?

    Then what of the networks? I suspect they will require one to queue at the centers in major urban areas (not even all state capitals are covered)

    i suspect some smart dudes will commence touting for registration and of course don’t forget that the bad dudes might be able to get a line with fake ID then.

    Well we will ‘sitdon look’ for this one and hope all works out well.

  4. Does this mean that we wont be able to continue to purchase sim cards from roadside hawkers &have they considered the impact this will have on the livelihood of those roadside card sellers. Thousands of people that depends on sales of sim cards will effectively become unemployed. As with everything Nigerian, they will eventually make a mess of this very good initiative. I hope NCC will be able to pull through.

  5. @AzeezSaheed: Just my thoughts as well. As bankers are losing jobs, sim card sellers will soon be out of business. Anyway, God is in control. He’s always bringing out the best of ideas from us (I ain’t talking about 419 oh!).

  6. Really a nice one. The project certainly wouldn’t be without disadvantages like Azeezsaheed, Chukwudi and Archie emphasized.

    However! it would really take care of fraudsters, scammers and the like that just throw away Sim card after scamming with it. Also to take care of false identity issue when people easily deny their lines just because they want to hide facts or want to be exposed for a crime committed. One can now walk or request the true identity from network providers if such situation arises.

    I hope it come true and become a reality in Nigeria because it surely would take care of so many challenges

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