SIM replacement in Nigeria gets new rules
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has unveiled new Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) replacement rules for individuals, corporate organisations and IoT/machine to machine.
NCC released a new comprehensive document bearing the guidelines for both individuals and corporate consumers recently. The NCC, in the document titled, ‘Business Rules and Operational Processes for Implementation of the SIM Replacement Guidelines 2022’ noted that the processes would govern SIM replacement of individuals and corporate (IoT and M2M) bodies.
According to the Commission, these processes shall be read in conjunction with the SIM Replacement Guidelines 2021 and the provisions of the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Registration.
NCC stated that the use of NIN is mandatory for all SIM replacement. The commission said adequate quality assurance measures shall be built into the validation and verification processes to ensure the accuracy of verifications/validations. It stressed that where Bank Verification Number (BVN) generated NIN is flagged by NIMC, communication service providers shall not conduct SIM replacement for Individual and corporate (IoT/M2M) subscribers. Communication service provider shall advise the subscriber to return to NIMC office for regularisation.
According to NCC, where communications service providers are unable to successfully verify the subscriber’s NIN records due to degradation in the service availability threshold, communications service providers are to refer to Appendix 2 of the Business Rules for SIM Registration.
In respect of foreigners who wish to perform SIM replacement, NCC said foreigners, who are lawfully residing in Nigeria for two years or more fall under the category of registrable persons, shall require a NIN for SIM replacement while foreigners validly transiting through Nigeria or are employed in or reside in Nigeria for less than 24 months are exempted from the mandatory use of NIN requirement.
According to NCC, persons in this category need to justify that they will be residing in Nigeria for less than two years. NIN is mandatory for foreigners with legal residency status or those living in Nigeria for two years and above.
For those who do not already have a NIN, NCC said communications service providers shall capture the resident’s details for NIN issuance as part of the NIN enrolment process, upon presentation of residents’ permits. It added that foreigners with Visitor’s visas (with visas less than two years) do not require a NIN.
NCC said communications service providers will capture the following on their records before new SIM activations, MNP and SIM replacements: International passport biodata page and visa page.
Further, communications service providers shall capture live facial images of the subscriber during SIM replacements for effective verification. Where subscribers’ fingerprint or facial image or passport photograph (Corporate subscriber) matches NIMC and SIM registration records, other forms of validations shall not be required. The commission noted that communications service providers shall provide service, obtain consent and update subscriber SIM Registration records with NIMC data, following verification of biometrics. For this purpose, SIM replacement Forms shall be updated with the consent form provision.
According to the document, where primary telecoms master’s NIN data and communications service provider’s SIM registration records match, and secondary telecoms master’s NIN is successfully verified, other forms of verification shall not be required.
The NCC noted that where primary telecoms master’s NIN data and communications service provider’s SIM registration KYC records do not match (or where primary telecoms master’s SIM registration database is not available), SIM registration data shall be updated with NIN details upon facial verification of primary telecom master’s passport photograph and consent form from the corporate subscriber.
For SIM replacement/upgrades on secondary lines, secondary telecoms master’s NIN shall be validated as part of corporate subscriber’s SIM-NIN harmonisation before SIM replacement is carried out.
NCC said SIM replacement/upgrade for primary telecom master shall not require secondary NIN validation, adding that any peculiar request different from any corporate entity, which is at variance to the general rules on corporate and IoT/M2M SIM activation and replacement shall be treated on a case by case basis after such corporate entity procures a waiver from NCC and upon written directives from the commission to the concerned communications service provider.
The telecoms regulator said a check must be carried out by the communications service providers for all new activations and Port-in requests to ensure that the limit on the number of activations per subscriber as specified by the commission from time to time is strictly adhered to.