The Nigerian Communications Commission has announced that it had granted approval for two mobile network operators, MTN Nigeria and 9Mobile, to carry out trials on the workability of Subscriber Identification Modules Service in Nigeria.
It said the trials, 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. It outlined the conditions in a statement issued in Abuja by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Ikechukwu Adinde, to include full compliance by the MNOs with the Registration of Telecoms Subscribers Regulations 2011.
Others include the Mobile Number Portability Regulations and Business Rules 2015; Guidelines on SIM Replacement 2017; and non-degradation of the Quality of Service experience by users of e-SIMs. The commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Danbatta, said the primary objective of the e-SIM trial was 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 device. 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. Danbatta said the technology would eliminate the need for physical SIM card slots on mobile devices in the near future. He said the trial was in line with the commission’s regulatory approach to ensure Nigeria’s telecoms ecosystem is in tandem with global best practices.