MTN Nigeria has revealed that it has ordered 14,000 new devices to enrol and capture National Identity Numbers.
The devices, it said, are expected to arrive in Nigeria in two weeks.
The telecom company during an investors call on Thursday told shareholders that the Federal Government had granted MTN and other operators a licence to register the identities of Nigerians, Bloomberg reported.
“This will enable us to enrol NINs on behalf of the National Identity Management Commission and validate information against their database, incoming MTN Nigeria CEO, Mazen Mroue, said on an investor call.
“It is a licence and capability we have been seeking for some time,” Mroue said.
MTN said its executives would form part of a high-profile team with other operators and the government that would assess the practicality of the two-week deadline.
The telecom company said it would work with the Nigerian authorities to implement the integration of NIN with mobile lines by the end of the year.
As part of the push by Nigerian government to tackle rising insecurity, telecommunications companies have been ordered to link SIM cards to national identity numbers by the end of the year.
Those that do not comply by December 31 risk having their phones cut off, with millions of lines at risk.
“We embrace and support the government’s push to broaden national identification numbers, or NIN, enrollment and will continue to engage with relevant authorities on the matter to establish implementation processes and time-lines for execution,” Group Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita said in an interview.
The NIN is used to match a person with his or her biometric data and other details in the National Identity Database during verification and authentication.
Africa’s largest wireless carrier by sales is experiencing an increase in call-recharge activity and other services in the country that will assist it in reaching a double-digit growth in service-revenue despite complying with an order to stop registering new lines, MTN Nigeria CEO and incoming Group Chief Risk Office, Ferdi Moolman, said on an investor call.
In a bid to clamp down on the use of unregistered lines, the Nigerian Communication Commission in 2015 fined MTN for failing to disconnect undocumented SIM cards as part of a security crackdown.
The matter was resolved a year later when the company paid N330bn ($859m) after extensive negotiations.