Mobile network operators in Nigeria had a total of 301.5 million lines connected to their networks as of May 2022.
These include SIMs issued by MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9Mobile.
However, only 204.2 million of these numbers were in active use, according to the data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
This means that a total of 97.3 million lines on the networks had become inactive.
A mobile line is said to be inactive if it is not used by the subscriber to make or receive calls and/or access data services for 90 days, at the minimum. Such lines are separated from active lines as they generate no revenue for telecom operators within the stated period.
This means that the telecom operators were able to generate revenue from only 68% of their customers in May.
Although the number of inactive lines across the networks is still high, the figure has come down significantly over the last 10 months.
As of August 2021, inactive lines across the network stood at 139 million.
While the telecom operators have always had inactive lines alongside the increase in active users and new activations, the ban on new SIM registration and the inability of many subscribers to retrieve their lines between December 9, 2020, and April 19, 2021, worsened the situation as abandoned lines continued to pile up each month.
Meanwhile, the gradual reduction in the number of inactive lines could be attributable to a new SIM policy introduced by the NCC.
The NCC in the number management policy recently introduced declared that subscribers whose lines have been inactive for 12 months would forfeit them.
“Subscriber numbers that have not generated revenue by originating calls will automatically be recovered after 12 consecutive months,” the Commission stated in the new policy document.