GSM operators fined for sale of pre-registered SIMs

9 May 2013

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has fined the country’s four GSM network operators a combined NGN54.8 million (USD343,000) for contravening the ‘Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations 2011’ by selling pre-registered SIM cards. Local newspaper The Guardian reports that the penalty for retailing an already-active SIM is NGN200,000 per card, and as such MTN Nigeria is required to pay a fine of NGN29.2 million for the sale of 146 pre-registered SIMs, while Globacom has been fined NGN11 million (55 cards), Airtel Nigeria NGN8.6 million (43 cards) and Etisalat NGN5 million (25). ‘Based on the report of enforcement exercises against hawkers, agents and backend suppliers of fully activated pre-registered new SIM Cards in the year 2012, and first quarter of 2013, it has been established that there is an urgent need to sanction all network operators who have not complied with the Direction,’ the NCC said in the notice of sanction. The quartet have been given up to seven days to pay the fine; failure to do so attracts a further penalty of NGN500,000 per day as long as the contravention persists.