Telecommunication companies have lost 20.83 million subscribers since the Federal Government began the linking of National Identity Number with SIM cards, according to industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Using the industry Average Revenue Per User of N1,420 for 2020, as given by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, the 20.83 million lost subscribers meant N29.58bn in lost revenue.
ARPU is defined as the total revenue divided by total number of subscribers. It is used primarily by consumer communications, digital media, and networking companies.
Total number of subscribers fell from 207,531,589 in November 2020 to 186,695,465 in May 2021.
MTN lost close to eight million subscribers, making it the biggest loser.
The Federal Government said the linkage of NIN with SIM cards across the country would help the nation to identify people, including crooks, easily.
Since the Federal Government set a deadline for people to link their National Identity Numbers with their SIM cards, telcos have been losing subscribers, especially after the government banned the sale of new SIM cards in December.
Although the ban on new SIM sale was lifted in April, close to five million subscribers had been lost in that period of time.
Since the SIM-NIN linkage began, about 57.3 million subscribers had been captured according to a statement signed by Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Ikechukwu Adinde, and Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, Kayode Adegoke, on June 29.
According to the statement, each unique NIN enrolment has an average of three to four SIMs. If one NIN has three SIMs, the total number of subscribers would be 171,900,000. If one NIN has 4 SIMs, the total number of subscribers would be 229,200,000. At its peak, October 2020, total number of subscribers in the nation was 207,578,237.
The fall in the total number of subscribers also means that tele-density has fallen from 108.92 per cent in November to 97.98 per cent in May.
According to the NCC tele-density is the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area.
Mobile data subscribers have since dropped from 154,878,203 in November to 140,488,490 in May, with broadband penetration falling from 45.07 per cent in November to 39.59 per cent in April.
Industry experts had said that the SIM-NIN linkage would slow down customer acquisition.