The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) has approved the trial of e-SIMs for MTN and 9mobile networks. This was made known in a press statement released by the NCC on Monday 2nd November. In July 2020, MTN launched the new innovation during a virtual session.
In the press statement signed by Ikechukwu Asínde, the NCC Director of Public Affairs, the NCC noted that: “The trial, approved to run for a period of one year, will 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) experienced by users of e-SIMs.”
The NCC described the innovation as: “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 the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Danbatta, the e-SIM is a technology that will eliminate the need for physical SIM card slots on mobile devices in the near future, adding that the trial is in line with the Commission’s forward-looking regulatory approach to ensure Nigeria’s telecoms ecosystem is in tandem with global best practices.
According to MTN, phones compatible with e-SIM currently are Google Pixel 3, Google 3 XL, Google Pixel 4, Google 4 XL, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, and Samsung S20 Series. The benefit of e-SIMs includes the elimination of the possibility of losing or damaging the SIM because it is built into the device. Finally, the registration of an e-SIM is the same as that of a regular SIM.
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