Kampala, (UG): Uganda’s Telecoms regulator, UCC (Uganda Communication Commission) has given until November 12, 2023, for all customers with unregistered sim cards to reverify their registration details with their respective mobile carriers or get switched off completely.
In a statement issued yesterday (Monday), UCC said that the ongoing switching off of SIM cards of some telecom subscribers is only for those whose registration doesn’t comply with the regulation of interception of communication regulation 2023.
UCC’s response came after a section of customers complained of having their SIM cards cut off from using data services, mobile networks and other essential services which prompted telecom companies to ask affected customers to visit the service centres for recertification of their details.
According to UCC’s head of legal service and compliance, Mr Abudu Sallam Waiswa, the ongoing exercise in all telecom companies is only for the customers whose SIM cards were registered but do not comply with the requirements since they did not appear before the service operator to have their particulars captured.
Mr Waiswa stated that the exercise affects a very small section of about 1% urging those affected to go and have their SIM cards re-verified to avoid deactivation.
“This process has been ongoing from 2014-2015, and in 2018 we improved it further, but now we are just trying to pick those few numbers that could have remained incomplete or not properly registered in the last few years, so we don’t expect many numbers,” Mr Waiswa said.
“What has been happening is not what will happen after November 12. What will happen is that whoever that will not have regularised the operation, the number will be deactivated until they appear physically with a National Identity Card (ID) to the respective service centres,” he added.
Mr Denis Kakonge, the legal and regulatory director at Airtel Uganda explained that the affected customers are only those that have never appeared before service operators to have their details captured but rather sent their National Identification Numbers (NIN) via SMS.
“In 2018 we went into a process where some customers were asked to send their National ID number, subsequently, all the registration for SIM cards use National ID and a thumbprint, but before that people had sent their NIN via SMS to the operators. That means that those customers did not appear to do their initial registration, he said.
“The regulations of 2023, require any of those customers to do a verification by appearing at the service centres with their National IDs, have their picture and thumbprint taken and have your verification done,” he added.
He noted that only customers who have received messages or calls from telecom companies should visit their centres and have their details taken to avoid deactivating their SIM cards before the deadline.
According to information on the UCC website, SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module. SIM card registration is the process of recording and verifying mobile phone number/s and personal information of a subscriber, by a communications service provider.
Such information includes the subscriber’s photograph, name, date of birth, gender, address and details of valid identification documents.
According to UCC, the process of SIM card registration is intended to help law enforcers identify mobile phone SIM card owners, track criminals who use phones for illegal activities, curb incidents such as loss of phone through theft, hate text messages, fraud, inciting violence and help service providers know their customers better.
How to check status of your SIM Card registration
Customers can check the status of their SIM Card Registration by dialing *197#, then select option 3 (National ID), enter your NIN (it is on your ID), enter your first name followed by your surname.
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