Telecom Companies Begin Disconnection of Underage Subscribers, Reveal Age Limit

Aug 6, 2023 | Uncategorized

  • Telecommunication companies in Nigeria have started disconnecting mobile lines associated with under age children
  • The move aligns with the NCC directive to disconnect mobile lines owned by persons under the age of 18
  • NCC said it aims to protect minors in Nigeria as the move is per the Nigerian Consitution

Telecommunication companies in Nigeria have started the implementation of the age restriction for mobile subscribers as required in the recent guidelines for SIM registration issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The move has led to the disconnection of some mobile lines registered by persons under 18.

NCC, MTN. Te;ecomms
Telecoms begin disconnection of SIM cards owned by minors
Credit: Kelvin Murray
Source: Getty Images

Telecom companies report drop in subscriber base

MTN stated in its half-year 2023 report that it started the implementation of the restriction in the second quarter of 2023, leading to a fall in its subscriber base.

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MTN said:

“In Q2, we implemented the minimum age requirement for SIM registration from 16 to 18 years, which impacted the run rate of gross connections and active data subscribers in the quarter.”

According to reports, two other companies revealed that the move is in line with NCC’s regulatory guidelines for SIM registration.

The move may be responsible for a consistent decline in subscribers recorded by the telecom firms in the first three months of this year.

Data released by NCC show that the total active mobile subscription across mobile networks, it has declined by 1 million in April this year despite new subscriptions.

In May, active mobile subscriptions declined by 2.5 million.

The trend continued in June as data by NCC for the month showed a further drop in connected mobile lines by 1.2 million, bringing the total active mobile subscriptions in Nigeria to 219.7 million at the end of June.

NCC reveal reason for the actions

In a statement, NCC said the age restriction on mobile subscriptions was to protect minors in Nigeria.

NCC said the development also aligns with the Nigerian constitution recognizing 18 as the age a Nigerian can enter into a contractual relationship.

The commission revealed that the SIM acquisition is a contract between service providers and subscribers, requiring subscribers to have proper legal status, be mature, and be rational enough to bear some responsibilities, obligations, and liabilities imposed by a contract.

NCC said parents and guardians can purchase SIM cards in their names on behalf of their children and ward and assume responsibilities arising from their uses.

“While the Commission is progressively pursuing digital inclusion for all, the draft proposal is intended to guarantee increased monitoring of children and shield the minors from undue liabilities in line with NCC’s Child Online Protection drive,” NCC said.

“No More 30 Minutes”: NCC Plans to block stolen MTN, Airtel, other SIMs in 5 minutes reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has suggested that the timeframe taken to block SIM cards of a reported stolen phone be cut down from 30 to five minutes.

The information was disclosed during a three-day public inquiry of six regulatory mechanisms at NCC’s office in Abuja.

The Deputy Director of Technical Standards and Networks Integrity, Edoyemi Ogoh, said the amendment was being made via the Draft Quality of Service Business Rules.


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