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FG Lifts Ban on New SIM Cards’ Issuance

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The federal government yesterday reversed its policy banning the sale of new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, in agreement with industry stakeholders, also yesterday revised the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration.

According to him, the activation of new SIM card, banned in December last year, will begin in April.

Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure the provisions of the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers.

He said the implementation of the policy and issuance of new SIMs and other suspended activities would resume on the same date, provided that verification had been completed and the guidelines fully adhered to.

According to a statement by the Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Minister, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, an earlier policy was approved on February 4, 2020, while the revised policy was developed in early March 2021. The policy was further improved and endorsed for implementation by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 26, 2021.

According to the statement, the final amendments to the revised policy, based on the directives of Buhari to make the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) mandatory for all SIM registration, were completed on April 14, 2021.
The policy includes guidelines on new SIM acquisition and activation, SIM replacement, new SIM activation for corporates and Internet-of-Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT/M2M), among others.

The statement said: “For the corporate registration, institutions will be required to appoint a telecoms master (at the minimum of an executive management level) to provide the operational primary NIN representation. The telecoms master will also be responsible to ensure that the users provide their NINs to serve as a secondary NIN.

“For IoT/M2M activations, SIM security protocols would be implemented on the SIM profile to ensure that SIMs can only be used for point-to-point data services specific to the URL they are working with. All other services will be barred.”
Pantami stated that progress had been made in the NIN registration process.

“Nonetheless, the federal government is committed to supporting all Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN. The biometric verification process has been slower than anticipated, owing largely to the non-adherence of many previous SIM biometric capture processes to the NIMC standards.

“The revised policy will ensure that operators conform to the required standards for biometric capture. The guidelines in the policy have been painstakingly developed and while they are thorough, it should be noted that they have been developed that way in national interest since the SIM is essentially a national resource. Citizens and legal residents are encouraged to bear with the government as the process has been developed in the best interest of the country,” the statement added.

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Telecommunications

Glo Enriches Customers’ Experience With Glo Café

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In line with its commitment to delivering value, National Telecommunications Company, Globacom has unveiled Glo café, a self-care application that offers customers a convenient self-service channel to manage their accounts.

Globacom, in a statement in Lagos, said that the newly repackaged app was designed to unify Glo services under one platform, thus empowering Glo subscribers to manage their mobile accounts hassle-free.

“It is a one-stop entertainment shop with unfettered access to a plethora of content covering video, music, sports, comedy, celebrity news and gist. The Glo Café is available for FREE on Web, Google Play Store and Apple App Store”. Glo said.

The company explained that its extensive research into the needs of customers, their understanding and requirements for a simple and time-efficient platform offering customer support underscored the need for the development of the app.

It added that “The launch of Glo Café is part of our efforts to deliver the best customer experience in the digital space and empower customers with a convenient, non-intrusive and 24/7 available channel of support. The self-care app is a simple, secure and convenient way for Glo mobile customers to access a whole host of functionalities- buying, sharing and gifting of data, borrowing credit and data, recharging any Glo account and paying postpaid bills, accessing Value Added Services (VAS), among other things”.

Glo customers will also have access to a world-class gaming portfolio, and easy access to customer support – including direct contact to call center executives, raising service-related requests, chatting with agents, etc, in addition to entertainment content including top-rated music, videos, comedy and sports.

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Airtel Africa Grows Revenue by 14.2 Percent to $3,908m in Q1 2021

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Airtel Africa Plc, a leading telecommunications company in Africa, grew its revenue by 14.2 percent to $3,908 million in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, the company stated in its just-released financial statements.

The company reported growth across all its regions with East Africa leading with 23.5 percent growth. Nigeria followed with 21.9 percent growth while Francophone Africa accounted for 10 percent growth. See Airtel Africal financial highlights below.

Airtel Africa Financial Highlights

 Reported revenue grew by 14.2% to $3,908m, with Q4’21 reported revenue growth of 15.4%.
 Constant currency underlying revenue growth was 19.4%, with Q4’21 growth of 21.7%. Growth was recorded across all regions: Nigeria up 21.9%, East Africa up 23.5% and Francophone Africa up 10%; and across key services, with revenues for voice up 11.0%, data up 31.2% and mobile money up 35.5%.
 Underlying EBITDA was $1,792m, up 18.3% in reported currency, and growing 25.2% in constant currency.
 Underlying EBITDA margin was 46.1%, adding 181 basis points(210 basis points higher in constant currency). Underlying EBITDA margin for Q4’21 was 47.7%, an increase of 389 basis points in constant currency.
 Operating profit increased 24.2% to $1,119m in reported currency, and by 32.8% in constant currency.
 Free cash flow was $647m, up 42.8% on the prior year.
 Basic EPS was 9.0 cents, down 12.6%, largely due to prior year exceptional items and a one-off derivative gain. Excluding these, basic restated EPS rose 44.5%. EPS before exceptional items was 8.2 cents.
 Our customer base grew by 6.9% to 118.2 million, with increased penetration across mobile data (customer base up 14.5%) and mobile money services (customer base up 18.5%). The recent slowdown in customer base growth has been due to new SIM registration regulationsin Nigeria.
 The Board has recommended a final dividend of 2.5 cents per share, making the total dividend for FY21 4.0 cents per share.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, said “In these challenging timesI want to say a huge thank you to all our employees, our business partners, and governments and regulators who have supported us, and in turn facilitated our continued support to the economies and communities we serve.

“Our performance has been strong, with reported growth of 13.6% in underlying revenue and 18.3% in underlying EBITDA, and constant currency growth of 19.4% and 25.2% respectively. Contributions to this growth came across all regions, with particular improvement in Francophone Africa, and across all our major services, with mobile money, data and voice each posting double-digit revenue growth.

“Our customer base also grew strongly for most of the year with new customer registration requirements in Nigeria stemming our onboarding of new customers in the final quarter, and these restrictions were lifted in second half of April.

“In line with our strategy of unlocking value in our mobile money business, we will soon welcome two new minority investors (The Rise Fund and Mastercard) in agreed transactions which value this part of our business at $2.65bn, as well as bringing $300m into the Group. We have also agreed to sell more of our tower portfolio, yielding yet more cash for the business.

“The Covid pandemic had eased during the course of the year, however, more recently we have seen a surge in cases. So far this has had no adverse impact on the business, though we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“In these times, our purpose of transforming lives has never been more critical. It has always meant more than simply providing mobile and financial services; it is about our drive to create a sustainable future. To that end, this year the leadership team has worked to create our sustainability framework, outlining the role we can play and the focus areas where we can make the biggest difference for each of our business, our people, our community, and our environment.

“We will report back with our goals later this year and deliver our first sustainability report in 2022. The combination of bringing connectivity to underpenetrated mobile markets and improving financial inclusion through banking the unbanked, across our territories of operation, together provide us with a sizeable runway of sustainable profitable growth potential, and one we remain very confident of delivering.”

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MTN Nigeria Resumes SIM Card Sales, Activation

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MTN Nigeria has resumed the sales of SIM cards across the nation, according to the latest report from the leading telecommunications company.

In a statement released on Monday, MTN Nigeria said customers can walk into any of the stores listed below to buy and activate their SIM cards.

Customers are therefore advised to visit with their National Identity Number (NIN) and any of their voter’s card, driver’s license and international passport.

The statement reads “We are delighted to inform you that SIM card sales have commenced in some select MTN stores.

“Simply walk into any of the stores listed below to buy and activate your SIM.

“Thank you for choosing MTN

“To make your experience at our store seamless and make the process faster, please be kind to come with the following:

1. Your National Identity Number (NIN) is mandatory by law for registering and activating your new SIM.

2. In addition, please come along with any one of these valid, government issued IDs:
i. Your NIN slip
ii. Your Voter’s Card
iii. Your Driver’s License
iv. Your international passport.

SIM registration cannot be done by proxy.

If you do not yet have a NIN, please click on this link Enrolment Centres – CUSTOMER NIN CAPTURE (mtnonline.com) to find the nearest enrollment center

“We look forward to seeing you, and welcoming you to the Yello Family soon!”

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