Airtel Africa Plc said on Thursday that its revenue growth was slowed down in the quarter ended June 30, 2022 by the barring of calls from SIMs that are not linked to National Identification Numbers.
After the last deadline of March 31, 2022 for telecoms subscribers to link their SIMs with their NINs, the Nigerian government asked telecommunications companies to place all SIMs that had not been linked to a NIN on ‘receive only’ status, barring all their outgoing calls with effect from April 4, 2022.
Airtel said a total of 13.6 million customers were initially barred, adding that 5.3 million (39 percent) have subsequently submitted their NIN and 2.3 million (17 percent) have subsequently been verified and unbarred.
“As at the end of June 2022, we had collated NIN information for 40.7 million active customers. Revenues for those subscribers who have not yet linked their NIN with their SIM amount to around 7 percent of total revenues from Nigeria, and around 3 percent of total revenues for the group,” it said.
The company said its voice revenue grew by 11.3 percent in constant currency, supported by both customer base growth of 8.9 percent and voice ARPU growth of 1.8 percent.
“The slowdown in voice revenue growth this quarter was due to the barring of outgoing calls for those customers in Nigeria who had not submitted their NINs,” it said.
Its data revenue grew by 19.8 percent in constant currency, driven by both customer base growth of 9.7 percent and data ARPU growth of 5.0 percent.
“Compared to recent quarters, data revenue growth was slower largely the result of a slowdown in the growth of data usage per customer as well as higher churn due to NIN-related call barring in Nigeria and lower ARPU growth in certain markets,” Airtel said.
The telco said SIM registration had accelerated, and some SIM consolidation was occurring in response to implementation, potentially reducing the future financial impact.
“We continue to work closely with the regulator and impacted customers to help them to comply with the registration requirements, making every effort to minimise disruption and ensure affected customers can continue to benefit from full-service connectivity as soon as possible; in line with our aim to drive increased connectivity and digital inclusion across Nigeria,” Airtel added.