Telecommunications giants, MTN, told its customers it will now be required to provide their Virtual NIN or the improved NIN slip for all SIM related services.
According to the company, SIM registration, replacement, mobile number portability, NIN linking, and 4G upgrade can only be done with vNIN or the improved NIN slip.
It said, “vNIN is a tokenised version of a person’s actual NIN, it is a 16-digit alphanumeric (ABCXYZ1249872DK…) NIN that customers will be required to generate either via NIMC mobile App, via the improved NIN slip with QR code for scanning using the NIMC mobile app or USSD channel for any SIM related services.
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“The virtual NIN tokens are merchant-specific and expire after a set period of time (usually 72 hours). This means that a token generated for company MTN cannot be used or verified by company Airtel.”
According to MTN, it is adopting vNIN because the Federal Government introduced it as a means to protect citizens’ data privacy as another party verifying the number cannot retain or use it in a way that puts the individual’s data privacy at risk.
It added that vNIN is only applicable to citizens with the original 11 digit NIN. It said both the actual NIN and vNIN will continue to exist side by side until the government tells the telecommunication industry to migrate fully to vNIN.
Earlier, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), had urged Nigerians to make use of its alternative ‘Tokenisation’ verification platform for identity verification.
This call follows the unavailability of the NIMC National Identity Number (NIN) Verification Service (NVS) due to ongoing maintenance of the commission’s server.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development in a chat with Nigerian NewsDirect, the Chairman Association Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo said Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are working along with NIMC to mitigate the temporary challenges with NIN Verification especially in ensuring that subscribers do not suffer.
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“We are aware of the outage of some NIMC’s system. As stakeholders in the sector, we are working along with them to mitigate the challenges while efforts are been made to ensure that telecommunications operators, subscribers do not suffer.”
Former President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Olusola Teniola, said it is necessary for NIMC to adequately manage client interface and ensure that services are restored to customers.
“From my experience, it is how you manage the client interface and how you restore services back to customers that matter.
“You would recall that Facebook also had downtime sometimes last year, it is not unusual. However, NIMC should have given or communicated alternative plaform to its customers.”