SIM Deactivation: No Respite For Subscribers, As MTN Sues For Calm
THERE appears to be no end in sight in the challenges faced by millions of telephone users, whose Subscribers Identification Module, (SIM) cards have been deactivated by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
The campaign saw the deactivation of about 10.7 million subscribers from the networks of the quartet of MTN Nigeria, Etisalat, Globacom and Airtel, in the very first week.
Already, MTN Nigeria, whose subscribers appeared badly and mostly affected in the ongoing row, has appealed to its customers to bear with it, on account of issues they were facing reconnecting people to the network.
Visit by The Guardian, yesterday, to some areas including Okota, Shoprites at Ikeja and Surulere; Bode Thomas, Victoria Island; Allen Avenue, showed a larger throng of customers, especially, those of MTN, waiting to get reconnected.
At Etisalat’s office in Yaba and Oshodi there was a low turnout of subscribers, apparently because the network, like Globacom and Airtel, were as badly affected as MTN that currently enjoys the patronage of about 62 million subscribers and about 44 per cent of the market share.
Some subscribers, who spoke to The Guardian both at Matori and Allen Avenue service centres of MTN, said they had been coming to the centres in the last four days without results.
A female MTN subscriber at the Surulere Shoprite at Adeniran Ogunsanya axis of Lagos, Mrs. Dupe Aremu, , who had been going for reconnection since last Thursday, bared her frustrations: “You can imagine, I am just praying it gets to me today so that I can have my rest. It has been stressful, moreover this singular act of deactivation has paralyzed my business.”
For Nkechi Sopuruchi, “It has been a tug of war at the Matori service centre of MTN. Why I am pained seriously is that I had registered before and even got confirmation that my data has been stored on the Yhello network only for them to keep bombarding me with several text messages in the last one-week that I should go to any of their service centres with any valid identification card and confirm my status. I didn’t bother to go because I had got a message earlier in the year that my data has been stored on their network. I shouldn’t waste my precious time, only for my line to be barred completely on Wednesday. That is why I am here.”
MTN Nigeria’s Corporate Services Executive, Akinwale Goodluck, in the statement, said the company is doing everything possible to ameliorate the conditions at the service centres.
“We wish to apologise to all our customers who are experiencing difficulty with the ongoing SIM registration/revalidation exercise.
“Affected customers can revalidate their registration details at all MTN sales outlets including the nearest agent and dealer shops. We appeal for calm as customers visit our various outlets. We are committed to ensuring that all affected subscribers complete the process as directed by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
“It is for this reason that we have increased the number of staff handling SIM registration/validation across all our channels. We have also mandated all our registration outlets to remain open till 8pm every day until further notice.”
He explained that the decision to deactivate all lines with invalid or incomplete subscriber registration details was in compliance with the NCC directive. “It is to enable us provide maximum support to government in achieving the national interest objectives of the exercise,” he added.