Telecommunication operators in Nigeria registered 80 per cent of SIM cards as at March 31, Mr Shina Badaru, President, Joint Action Committee on Information and Communication Awareness and Development (JACITAD) has said.
Badaru disclosed this on Tuesday in Lagos during a 'Media Presentation on Nigeria SIM Registration Status Report'.
JACITAD, an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry association, devoted to the growth of ICT journalism in Nigeria, carried out the research three months ago.
Badaru said that the 80 per cent, which came to 78,647,422 SIM cards, were registered by MTN, Globacom, Airtel, Etisalat, Visafone, Starcomms and Multi-Links.
He said that `seven front-end partners’ engaged by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) registered the remaining 20 per cent which amounted to 22,831,253 SIM cards.
He said the seven front-end partners include Chams Plc, Data Group IT Ltd, Eagle/CBC Consortium, E-Keneth/Sagemetrics, Joint Komputer Kompany, Private Networks Nigeria and SW Global Ltd.
According to Badaru, MTN registered 33,900,000; Globacom accounted for 15,119,033; Airtel registered 14,172,411 and Etisalat registered 12,750,000 as at March 31.
The JACITAD president told newsmen that for the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Visafone registered 2,152,609; Starcomms registered 445,369 while 108,000 was registered by Multi-Links.
``With 33,900,000 registered SIMs, just 100,000 away from the golden 40 million mark, MTN's dominance of mobile telecommunications industry was once again confirmed.
``With this figure, MTN commanded over 50 per cent of all SIMs registered by both GSM and CDMA operators,'' he said.
He said that initially the front-end partners were to register all the existing SIMs, while Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) were only to register the new SIMs before activation.
``The need to complete the exercise in record time necessitated the inclusion of the MNOs in this category of registration and this became a serious source of challenge to the front-end partners,'' Badaru said.
He said that the survey was carried out was to shed light on the accuracy and credibility of the exercise.
Mr Tomi Davies, Chief Executive Officer of Techno Vision Communications, said that the SIM card registration exercise would be the kernel for Citizens Identification System.
Davies, represented by Mr Abimbola Toki of Business World, said that with terrorism on the increase, the need to effectively manage security had become overriding.
He said that integrating the SIM card registration subscribers into a national security database network would provide the basis for lawful interception regime in the country.
Davies added that the registration exercise could potentially help the security agencies investigating criminal activities and even become proactive in the prevention of crime.