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.