The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that telecommunications companies (Telcos) in Nigeria lost a total of 12 million internet subscribers in 2021 due to the national identification number (NIN) linkage policy.
In its latest report titled, ‘2021 subscriber/network data annual report’, the commission also said a total of nine million active voice subscribers were lost between 2020 and 2021.
The report linked the loss of subscribers to the directive to suspend the sales and registration of new SIMs across the country.
Recall that in December 2020, NCC had given telecommunications companies a two-week ultimatum to block SIM cards not registered with NIN. The deadline was later extended from December 2020 to January 2021 to enable subscribers with NIN to link it up; while those without NIN had till February 9, 2021.
The NCC report noted that the number of internet subscribers decreased by 12 million.
“Nigeria’s teledensity decreased from 107.18 percent as at December 2020 to 102.40 percent by December 31 2021,” the report said.
“The number of internet subscribers decreased from 154,301,195 subscriptions as at December 2020 to 141,971,560 subscriptions as at December 2021 representing a decline of 8 percent.”
In the period under review, the commission said broadband penetration also decreased from 45.02 percent as at December 2020 to 40.88 percent as at December, 2021.
Similarly, broadband subscriptions decreased from 85,941,222 subscriptions in December 2020 to 78,041,883 subscriptions as at December 2021.
On the level of data usage, NCC said: “There was an increase in the volume of data consumed in the year-end December 2021 when compared with the year ended December 2020”.
NCC also said that subscribers’ number decreased from 204,601,313 in 2020 to 195,463,898 active voice subscriptions as at December 2021, indicating a loss of 9,137,415 subscriptions.
“This represents about 4.46 percent decline in total subscription within the period under consideration.
“The decrease in operators’ subscriber base was attributed majorly to the effect of the directive from NCC in December 2020 to all GSM operators to suspend the sale and registration of new SIMS, SIM swaps and all porting activities.
“The objective of the audit exercise was to verify and ensure compliance by mobile network operators with the set quality standards and requirements of SIM card registration as issued by the federal ministry of communications and digital economy and the commission,” the report stated.