Nigerian Telecoms Regulator Greenlights e-SIM Trial For MTN, 9mobile


By Angeline Mgbele, Correspondent Abuja

Telecommunications sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has granted approval for two mobile network operators (MNOs) namely MTN Nigeria and 9mobile, to carry out a trial on the workability of embedded Subscriber Identification Modules (e-SIM) Service in Nigeria, a statement, signed by the Director of Public Affairs(DPA) of the Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, has said.

The trial, according to the statement said, approved to run for a period of one year, would involve testing 5,000 e-SIMs by the two networks, subject to compliance with a number of regulatory conditions.

These conditions include full compliance by the MNOs with the Registration of Telecoms Subscribers Regulations 2011; the Mobile Number Portability Regulations and Business Rules 2015; Guidelines on SIM Replacement 2017; and non-degradation of the Quality of Service (QoS) experience by users of e-SIMs.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer(EVC/CEO) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the primary objective of the e-SIM trial wass to assess the technical performance of the e-SIM on telecoms service providers’ network towards eventual rollout, if satisfactory.

An e-SIM is a small chip that is embedded on a mobile phone or smart devices. It is designed for convenience, flexibility and simplicity. The e-SIM makes it easier for subscribers to choose a pre-paid plan provider and switch between network operators.

The information on the e-SIM is rewritable by operators and the identification information can be updated over time.

According to Prof. Danbatta, the e-SIMs was a technology that would eliminate the need for physical SIM card slots on mobile devices in the near future, adding that the trial was in line with the Commission’s forward-looking regulatory approach to ensure Nigeria’s telecoms ecosystem was in tandem with global best practices.

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