The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), on Monday, permanently placed embargo on the registration of old Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards by telecoms providers.
The NCC Director of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
A SIM card is issued by telecoms operators to provide the individual user with the appropriate number recognised by that network after it has been inserted into a mobile phone.
Ojobo said the registration of old SIM cards ended in 2012, adding that network providers were only allowed to register new SIM cards.
‘‘Registration of new SIM cards was allowed to enable subscribers to have freedom of entry and exit from a mobile network to be able to switch to a new mobile network of their choice.
‘‘If the registration is stopped, how would foreigners that are coming to Nigeria or new citizens who are ripe to use mobile phones register? There is no time we can stop the registration.
‘‘What was stopped was the registration of old SIM cards after nine months that the official registration started, for old SIMs it has stopped, but for new it shall continue,’’ Ojobo said.
He said network providers had the right to reissue any number that was not in use by subscribers after nine months.
NAN recalled that the NCC commenced the registration on March 28, 2011 in a ceremony performed by Dr Eugene Juwah, its Executive Vice Chairman.