Just when SIM-linked controversies appeared no longer to be news, two SIM registration stories have hit the headlines – this time from Nigeria and Malaysia.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has suspended the registration of new SIM cards by mobile network operators while it embarks on a new audit of the subscriber registration database.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, a number of quality standards and SIM registration guidelines have been issued by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the NCC. Now the NCC wants to ensure that MNOs are complying with these standards and guidelines.
The upshot of this move is that, with a few exceptions (which will require an exemption in writing from the NCC), no new SIM cards can be sold, registered or activated, for now at least. Non-compliance with the NCC’s directive could lead to sanctions, including the withdrawal of an operator’s licence. It is not clear how long the audit will take.
Meanwhile in Malaysia 15 fines amounting to RM750,000 (about $184,700) were issued last week by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to five telecommunication companies for registering prepaid SIM cards without validating the information of applicants.
Registering a prepaid SIM card without verifying user information is an offence under Section 127 of the country’s Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Digi Telecommunications, Maxis, e U Mobile, Tune Talk and YTL Communications were all handed fines ranging from RM250,000 to RM50,000. Most operators were involved in more than one violation of the rules.
Seventy fines totalling RM3.45 million (about $850,000) have been issued so far this year. Last year’s total was RM2.9 million (about ($714,000).