The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has selected MTN and 9Mobile for the pilot test run for the embedded Subscriber Identification Modules (e-SIM) Service in Nigeria, subject to full compliance with regulatory conditions. The information was made public by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who revealed that the primary objective of the e-SIM trial run is to confirm, and, assess the technical performance of the e-SIM on telecoms service providers' network, prior to rollout. He further said, "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.
The commission said the trial, approved to run for a period of one year, will involve testing 5,000 e-SIMs by both MTN and 9Mobile, subject to compliance with a number of regulatory conditions.
An e-SIM is a small chip that is implanted on a mobile phone or smart device. The technology aims to eliminate the need for physical SIM card slots on mobile devices in the near future thus making these devices more convenient, flexible, and simple.
Another strength of this technology is that the e-SIM is rewritable by operators and the identification information can be updated over time.
It makes it easier for subscribers to choose a pre-paid plan provider and switch between network operators.
According to the commission, the conditions required for each of them to fulfill include:
• Full compliance by the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), with the Registration of Telecoms Subscribers Regulations 2011.
• The Mobile Number Portability Regulations and Business Rules 2015.
• Guidelines on SIM Replacement 2017.
• Non-degradation of the Quality of Service (QoS) experienced by users of e-SIMs.