People & Money

MTN, 9mobile to Begin Trial on e-SIM

Telecoms giants, MTN and 9mobile, have been granted approval to carry out trial on the workability of embedded Subscriber Identification Module (e-SIM) services in Nigeria.

The approval was granted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

In a statement signed by Ikechukwu Adinde, director of public affairs at the NCC, on Monday, the commission said the trial will run for a period of 12 months.

MTN had announced on July 15, 2020 that it has started the trial of e-SIM services on its network, while 9mobile announced the launch of e-SIM on its network later in August.

The NCC said the trial will involve testing 5,000 e-SIMs by the two telecom providers, subject to compliance with a number of regulatory conditions.

Also Read: 9Mobile, MTN to Begin National Roaming Service

As part of the conditions, the NCC spelt out full compliance by the mobile network operators (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.

Umar Danbatta, executive chairman of NCC, said the primary objective of e-SIM trial is to assess the technical performance of e-SIM on telecoms service providers’ network towards eventual rollout, if satisfactory.

The commission said 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; and it enables easy access for subscribers to choose a pre-paid plan provider and switch between network operators.

It also said the information on e-SIM is rewritable by operators and the identification information can be updated over time.

Also Read: NCC Convicts Seven in Abuja, Kano Over SIM-Card Offences

MTN and 9mobile, however, said e-SIM can only be used by subscribers who own compatible devices.

The compatible devices include Google: Pixel 3, 3XL and Pixel 4, 4 XL; Apple: iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS and XS Max, iPhone XR; and Samsung: S20 series.

The NCC boss said 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.

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