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How to retrieve a lost SIM card without qualms


Whether you are a postpaid or a prepaid subscriber, losing a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card is worrisome.

Not to worry, there is a standard procedure to follow to retrieve a lost SIM without qualms.

The prescribed procedure for a subscriber to follow to effect a SIM replacement is necessary to prevent unauthorized replacements of SIM cards.

A SIM can be replaced if it is faulty, damaged, stolen, lost, obsolete (but eligible for replacement or an upgrade), and any other reasonable legitimate reason or condition necessitating a SIM replacement.

An operator may refuse a SIM replacement request where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the replacement ought not to be carried out.

The SIM to be retrieved must have been registered in accordance with the registration of telephone subscribers regulations issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the SIM must be active on the network of the operator.

An active SIM card is a SIM that can make and receive calls. An inactive SIM is one that cannot make or receive calls or one that has been recycled. A SIM becomes inactive after 6 months of inactivity. After 3 months or inactivity (i.e. no recharge, no calls on the SIM), the SIM enters inactive mode, and recycled after another 3 months.

A subscriber requesting for the replacement of a SIM must provide the following:

a. Information about the three (3) most frequently called numbers from that SIM which must be verified by the Network Service Provider. The frequently called numbers must have been dialed at least five times over a 30 days period.

b. Where the SIM to be replaced is a data SIM, the subscriber will be required to provide any two of the following:

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i. Last recharge amount and date

ii. Name of internet bundle value activated and data allowance allocated

iii. Last three (3) sites visited.

c. An affidavit signed by the subscriber and a passport photograph of the subscriber where the replacement is to be done by a proxy.

d. Details of the last recharge on the SIM.

e. Details of the last paid invoice for post-paid subscribers.

A person requesting a replacement is expected to fill a standard SIM replacement form, and a valid photo identification of the subscriber must be provided.

The SIM pack or other evidence of direct purchase/ownership of the SIM must be provided and where it is unavailable, an affidavit attesting to the ownership and loss of the SIM must be provided.

The Network Service Provider is expected to capture a facial image of the subscriber.

SIM replacement by proxy

Also, a SIM replacement may be carried out by proxy. Any SIM replacement carried out by proxy must be in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 6 above.

Where a replacement is done by a proxy, such proxy will be required to provide an affidavit sworn to by the owner of the SIM detailing reasons for the replacement, as well as the reasons for the subscriber’s inability to carry out the replacement, a copy of the subscriber’s means of identification and a valid photo identification of the proxy.

A request for a SIM replacement may be made by a proxy for Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number (MSISDN) registered in the name of a corporate entity, where such proxy has been duly designated as the entity’s interface with the operator on record, and produces a sworn affidavit by the entity duly authorizing the replacement.

The proxy is also expected to fill the SIM replacement form, and the Network Service Provider is expected to capture a facial image of the proxy.

Online SIM Replacement

Online SIM Replacement can only be carried out either through the Network Service Provider’s secured website or self-service terminal.

The Network Service Provider shall create on its secured website a platform where Subscribers can carry out SIM Replacement using the unique Identification and PIN issued by the Network Service Provider.

The Network Service Provider shall issue interested Subscribers with a unique Identification and PIN.

The Subscriber is required to purchase a new SIM Card to which the MSISDN of the old SIM Card would be transferred.

The Subscriber can login to the portal through the Network Service Provider’s secured website using the unique Identification and Personal Information Number (PIN) issued to the Subscriber.

The Subscriber will input the following information;

a. Date of Birth

b. Mother’s Maiden Name

c. Place of Birth

d. Three frequently called numbers

e. The MSISDN of the SIM to be replaced.

Where the information provided matches the record on the Network Service Provider’s system, the Subscriber will be prompted to enter the MSISDN of the new SIM purchased and the operator would then the carry out the SIM replacement by transferring the old MSISDN to the new SIM.

No Network Service Provider is allowed to carry out SIM Replacement over the phone.


A replacement SIM shall be activated within two (2) hours once the verification of Subscriber information has being carried out.

Violations and Penalties

Any SIM Replacement done in violation of NCC guidelines shall be sanctioned in accordance with enforcement regulations.

A Network Service Provider shall be held liable for any SIM Replacement carried out in violation of regulations or done fraudulently by its agent or dealer.

The subscriber can pursue any other remedies against a Network Service Provider for any SIM Replacement done fraudulently by such Network Service Provider or its agent or dealer.


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