• Business - Companies
  • Updated: December 11, 2020

Suspension Of SIM Registration Threatens Jobs In MTN, Airtel, Glo, 9mobile

Suspension Of SIM Registration Threatens Jobs In MTN, Airtel

(Photo Credit: Nairametrics)

The recent directive by the Federal Government that Mobile Network Operators should suspend sale of SIM cards and registration have created panic among workers of telecommunications companies, as the directive threatens jobs and likely to send thousands of workers into unemployment market.

The government had stated that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will audit the Subscriber Registration Database due to security implications associated with the use of SIM to facilitate criminal activities. To begin the audit, network providers were told to suspend the selling and registration of new SIM cards.

How SIM Reg Suspension Will Lead To Job Loss In Telecoms

The directive affects MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, Glo, 9mobile and many other internet service operators in Nigeria's telecommunications market, which is the largest in Africa.

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While FG's directive look harmless on paper, findings by AllNews showed that many jobs are threatened by the decision, as it leaves thousands of workers in the telecom sector redundant. This is because these companies are already taking steps to implement the directive.

Telecommunications companies are restructuring, thereby, putting jobs at risk. It has forced telecommunications companies to begin reviewing works of their employees in the SIM Registration department across MTN offices and walk-in-centers, and also that of Airtel, Glo and 9mobile.

MTN had disclosed in a statement obtained by AllNews, that "MTN has suspended the sale, registration and activation of new sim cards across all touchpoints. This includes MTN Service Center, Connect Stores, and all affiliated Retail/Trade Outlets."

AllNews gathered that workers whose jobs are threatened are contract employees, as they are mostly tasked with the SIM registration by telecoms companies. The number of workers that will be affected by the suspension of SIM Reg is not known yet, but AllNews understands figure might run into thousands depending on how long the suspension is to last.

How Telcos Are Mitigating Impending Job Loss

In order to limit the number of employees affected by the suspension of SIM registration, telecommunications companies are boarding some workers into other departments. So the number of job loss will be determined by how many affected workers can fit into other departments during the boarding process - pending the time the suspension elapse.

According to a person with inside knowledge in one of the telcos, AllNews gathered that the restructuring or boarding process has affected plans of workers who were looking to take a break for Christmas and new year.

Workers are reconsidering their leave plans for holiday, as absent from work during the boarding process could cost them their job. Being present at work increases the chances of workers to be selected as essential.

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Suspension Will Dwindle Telcos' Revenue

The suspension of the SIM registration is a big deal as the industry records an average of two million additional subscribers monthly. Currently, MTN has the highest subscriber base with 83.3 million, Airtel comes next with 56.2 million, Globacom has 55.07 million, and 9mobile accounts for 12.9 million.

According to data from the NCC, in October, 2.7 million subscribers were added, in September; 1.7 million, in August 4.2 million, while in July, the industry recorded additional 3.04 million subscribers. In total, the telecommunications industry has 207.5 million subscribers in October.

The suspension of the sale of new SIM cards will slow the growth of the industry's subscriber base, thereby, affecting the revenue of the industry. Registration of SIM cards is another source of income for MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile.

WIth the suspension of SIM cards, it means a source of revenue for telcos has been blocked by the government. So the department in charge of sales and registration of SIM cards won't be recording earnings during the duration of the suspension, hence, the looming job loss and panic that has gripped the workers of the telecoms industry.

MTN Nigeria's Senior Manager, Investor Relations, Chima Nwaokoma, denied job loss in the company. While speaking to AllNews, Nwaokoma said there's no attempt to cut jobs, while Airtel Africa's Investor Relations, Anna Kaim, said she isn't aware of the suspension of sim registration and impact on jobs at Airtel.

A Globacom representative who spoke to AllNews said the suspension of sim registration isn't the reason the company is laying off workers.

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