Subscribers With NIN Can Replace Lost, Damaged SIM Card – ALTON

The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has announced that subscribers with National Identification Numbers (NIN) can now replace their lost or damaged Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card at any of the customer centres across the country.

This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement titled ‘ALTON’s Update on SIM Registration and NIN Integration’, signed by ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo and Publicity Secretary, Damian Udeh.

Subscribers with lost or damaged SIM cards had been complaining of the challenges they had been experiencing and difficulties to get SIM swaps.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, had instructed the telecoms industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to stop the sale of SIM cards in Nigeria pending an audit of the SIM registration database.

Omolola Adedeji, an MTN subscriber who spoke to our correspondent, complained that she had been unable to communicate since her SIM card got damaged, even though her National Identification Number was linked to the line.

She said, “My SIM card spoilt, now MTN is saying I cannot retrieve my line because of NCC regulation. They should have at least considered cases like lost or stolen phones and given exceptions to line retrieval.

“Why will you direct telecom companies not to replace or sell SIM cards for people that have NIN? Must everything be this difficult? This is not proper but no one can question the Nigerian government.”

Glo subscriber, Uchenna Onyeyiri, also lamented, “This is my only line and I use it for work and everything else. How am I meant to contact my clients? How is anyone meant to contact me? And they’re telling me that it is the order from the government. Does that sound reasonable?”

ALTON stated that it had recognized the challenges experienced by customers that sought to replace or upgrade their SIM cards following the suspension of sale and activation of SIM cards.

The statement said, “We empathize with people who have been unable to reactivate their phone lines as a result of the suspension.

“Further to engagements with government on the matter, we are pleased to report that our members have been granted permission to carry out SIM replacement upon verification of the customer’s NIN.”

ALTON assured the public that their members were working with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure seamless system connectivity for verification of NINs.

The operators urged subscribers to be patient as they worked with all stakeholders towards speedy resolution of issues affecting SIM registration/swap and activation, promising to restore normal services as soon as possible.