SIM card registration: Ezra Chiloba blames telcos for noncompliance

Communications Authority Director General Ezra Chiloba. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Mobile service providers are to blame for non-compliance in the ongoing SIM Card registration exercise, Communications Authority Director-General Ezra Chiloba now says.

Chiloba, who was responding to the hot issue of registration, noted that it wasn’t their intention to switch off lines, a deadline that had been set for April 15.

“Our intention was not to switch off non-compliant users, but looking at how we ended up where we did in the last two weeks, it meant the authority had to take action and play a more active role in the process,” he said on Spice FM Tuesday.

Only 50 per cent of consumers are duly registered, a process he says was taking longer than CA had anticipated.

“This was a lack of compliance by the telcos. The pace at which registration was happening was not impressive,” he said.

Asked why the sudden interest to have customers update their registration details, the Communications Authority boss said that mobile operators had not met some requirements, which then raised issues of national security and protection of consumers.

“We realised that some of the required standards were not met. We were confronted with issues of consumer protection, just because we were not able to trace people using certain devices.”

“It is illegal to hawk SIM cards. You are only supposed to acquire a SIM card at an agent or dealers premises. When someone hawks a SIM card to you, it is highly likely it will not be registered the right way,” he added.

The deadline for the nationwide SIM card registration has since been extended by six months to October 15, 2022.

The Communications Authority says it will perform monthly monitoring exercises to ensure that operators are doing what is required of them.

“However, consumers should not blame the authority if they are switched off after the lapse of the six months,” said Chiloba.

Who should register and what’s required?

All mobile subscribers are required to register their SIM cards upon purchase.

To update your registration details, you are required to visit a mobile agent or dealer near you. You will be asked to provide your name, address, and a copy of your National Identification Card (ID) to have your details taken.

If a minor, you are required to present a copy of your birth certificate and copies of parents’ IDs.

To update your registration details if you applied for a SIM card when you were underage but are now an adult, or applied by use of a passport and want to change to ID, you will be required to present a copy of your ID card.

Non-compliant SIM users risk spending six months in jail, or a Sh300,000 fine, or both.