A total of 23.4 million Airtel subscribers are yet to submit their National Identification Numbers to be linked with their mobile numbers, according to statistics provided by the company.
Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, provided the statistics during a conference call on Friday.
He said Airtel Nigeria had collected 21 million National Identification Numbers out of its 44.4 million subscriber base, leaving 23.4 million subscribers with unlinked sim cards and at the risk of disconnection.
According to him, the telco has made significant progress with the NIN collection and is working on improved connectivity with the National Identity Management Commission database to verify the NINs.
He said, “We have already made significant progress capturing NIN and building our database with the NIMC. So far, out of Airtel Nigeria’s 44.4 million customers, we have collected NINs for 21 million; that’s 47 per cent of our base.
“To finish this registration process, we must verify these NINs we have with the NIMC. This requires improved connectivity with the NIMC database, which is currently being developed for all Nigerian mobile operators.”
According to Mandava, inevitably some subscribers would be cut off following the February 9 deadline for NIN submission, but he noted it would cause no dramatic revenue impact for the telco.
Airtel Africa said its reported revenue in the first nine months of the financial year was ahead 13.8 per cent at $2.87bn, with third quarter reported revenue growth at 19.5 per cent.
Growth for the nine months was recorded across all of its regions, with Nigeria up 21.6 per cent, East Africa ahead with 23.4 per cent and Francophone Africa rising by eight per cent.
Its Africa operations reported net profit of $116m, which increased 12.6 per cent on-year and 31.8 per cent from the preceding quarter’s $88m, on account of higher revenues and decrease in exceptional item expenses.
Mandava said the nine-month performance reflected the resilience of its business model through the COVID-19 pandemic and a continued improvement in its execution and performance.
According to him, this is in part due to its delivery of strong customer growth in the third quarter, despite the introduction mid-December of additional customer registration requirements in Nigeria.
He stated, “This has meant a temporary halt to the ability of all operators in the country to onboard new customers.
“Airtel, however, is working closely with the government to ensure that all its subscribers provided their valid national identification numbers and updated their SIM registration records, such that disruption was minimised.”
He added that Airtel Nigeria’s application to renew its spectrum licences in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands for a 10-year period was approved by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
“This is our largest market and we remain focused on bridging the digital divide and expanding our broadband capability in the country.” Mandava commented.