MTN Group Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, speaking at the company's annual shareholders' conference for 2016, has announced that all MTN sim registrations "must take place in brick and mortar structures", this is in compliance with a directive by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
MTN's chairman Nhleko said there's a new regulation req in #Nigeria:all SIM card registration must "take place in brick & mortar structures"
— Maggie Fick (@MaggieFick) March 2, 2017
According to NCC's head of Enforcement Unit, Salisu Abdu, the commission had issued this directive to all telecom operators since November 2016 to stop their representatives from registering SIM cards in the open, under umbrellas and kiosks. This directive was intended to be effected as from February 1, 2017.
SIM registration should only be done in a controlled environment- a permanent building with logos and structures of the operators in place with identities of the agents doing the registration -- Salisu Abdu
The reason for this initiative is mainly for security reasons.
We came up with this so we will be able to trace where SIM cards are registered to stem the tide of rising crimes, especially kidnapping and militancy -- Salisu Abdu
Why MTN is taking the NCC directive seriously
Defiance of rules and regulation of the NCC has always attracted a punishment of sorts (fines).
Yesterday, 2nd of March, 2017, at the annual shareholders conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, MTN announced a loss of $200 million, confirming that 2016 was the most challenging year so far in the company’s years of operation. The reason for this loss is due mainly to the fine MTN was subjected to in 2016.
— MTN Group (@MTNGroup) March 2, 2017
Furthermore, in March 2016, MTN revealed in their quarterly update, that in a bid to comply with NCC's directives against pre-registered lines, they had to cut off 4.5 million subscribers. This cost the company its position as Africa's most valued telecommunication company. Not only did they lose their spot at number, cutting off 4.5 million subscribers also affected their growth and revenue.
And according to NCC's head of Enforcement Unit, Salisu Abdu, ₦5 million is the penalty for any telecoms operator that does not follow this directive. Therefore MTN will certainly not take this directive with levity.