On Thursday, April 15, 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria resolved to lift the ban on the registration of new SIMs in Nigeria. This was to take effect on Monday, April 19, 2021.
However, it seems that SIM registration has not begun in all states of the federation. A cursory Twitter search with keywords such as “new SIM registration in Nigeria” reveals a relatively unknown side of the story.
Hello @Chris_brisy, apologies for the delayed response. Please note that new sim card purchase and registration is limited to selected shops, and not available in Ogun state currently.
— Airtel Nigeria (@AirtelNigeria) May 10, 2021
Y'ello, kindly be informed that our stores in Ikorodu will soon commence the sales and registration of new SIMs once certified by NCC. As such, you may visit https://t.co/8WyGl4EZog next week for updated list. Thanks. ^NA
— MTN Nigeria Support (@MTN180) May 8, 2021
Several calls to customer care representatives of the four major telcos in Nigeria -- Glo, Airtel, MTN, and 9mobile -- shed more light on the situation.
A call placed to Airtel’s customer care line confirmed that new SIM registration had begun in certified centres across the federation. While Kano, Nasarawa, and Katsina are some of the states with certified centres, we couldn't confirm the presence of certified centres in Osun and Oyo States.
An MTN customer care line representative repeated the information the Airtel customer care representative provided while also explaining that customers would have to call the customer care centre to get details on where to register a new SIM whenever the need arises.
However, this is only temporary, as a call to a Glo customer care representative revealed. According to the representative, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is yet to certify all Glo outlets for SIM registration. As NCC certifies more outlets, more centres would be open across the country.
As we reported earlier, the NCC confirmed that there was a sharp reduction in mobile network subscribers. This was partly due to the suspension of SIM sales and registration introduced in December 2020.While the lifting of the initial ban placed on new SIM registration was met with great relief on the part of citizens and telcos, the current situation places a burden on citizens who wish to register new SIMs in locations without certified SIM registration outlets.
None of the customer care representatives could give a date when all outlets would be NCC certified. While states like Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Rivers have a limited number of NCC certified outlets, for the average Nigerian, getting a new SIM appears to have gotten a whole lot harder.