By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof Umar Danbatta on Tuesday said over 180 million telephone lines are now linked with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).
The EVC disclosed this on Tuesday during the Public Inquiry on three Regulatory Instruments on the Rule Making Process at the headquarters of the Commission in Abuja.
According to him, the feat was made possible through the capturing of over 60 million Nigerians by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in the National Identity Numbers (NIN) which are linked to 3 to four sim cards.
“The NIN-SIM link so far are 180 million subscribers. When you look at the number of SIMs tied to a NIN you have about 3-4, that translates to 180 million subscribers whose SIMs are linked to their NIN,” he said.
The NCC boss said available statistics shows that broadband penetration peaked at 41 per cent, while active telephone subscribers increased by over one million.
For him, the review of the guidelines for SIM Card Registration and replacement became imperative considering the security challenges facing the country.
He pointed out that the biometric and demographic information of the citizens needed to be updated at this time in line with the Federal Government’s policy on digital identity so as to enable government address security dimensions of the challenges facing the country.
Danbatta listed the three Instruments being considered for stakeholders input as: Spectrum Trading to facilitate deployment of 5G technology, SIM card replacement guidelines and telephone subscribers registration guidelines.
He informed that the Commission is considering 5 slots in the mid-band and low-band cadre for allotment to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for the deployment of the 5G technology before end of the year.
“We are looking at robust contributions from stakeholders. We believe that the combination of mid band and low band will provide meaningful 5G services across the country. And it is our belief that new entrants can also take advantage.
“However, the 5G Spectrum will be assigned administratively, but it will be determined by price and subject to the approval of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, ” he said.
Danbatta, who described the Instruments as vital ingredients to the implementation and realisation of the five points agenda of the NCC’s leadership to ensure inclusiveness, said it would spur competitiveness and economic growth and development for the industry and the country as a whole.
The NCC EVC commended stakeholders in the industry for their contributions and inputs to the Instruments as published in the Commission’s websites, assuring that some of the issues they raised are being attended to.