Telecom operators in Rwanda will be implementing new directives for SIM card registration in a move Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) said will help curb fraud.
Rwanda’s telecom regulator said that anyone who wishes to get a new SIM card or swap will have to go to their respective service providers' service centres, authorized agent shops, and kiosks.
In a press release, Charles Gahungu, the General Manager ICT Regulation Department at RURA, said that this new procedure will enhance SIM card security because it will include ID verifications and also taking pictures of the people buying or swapping SIM cards.
Before swapping or registering a SIM card under this new procedure, service providers must confirm that the National ID presented is the same as in the National Identification Agency’s database. But that’s not all. They now have to go a step further and match the face from the Agency’s database to the person at their office, thus finally verifying ownership.
“Literally the sim cards were being registered by only checking if the ID number exists, where the agents were able to activate the sim card as long as they had an ID number, this resulted in people having sim cards registered on their IDs without their knowledge” Charles noted with concern about Rwanda SIM card registration.
RURA can now track SIM card owners, this new procedure promises to help curb fraudulent acts like mobile money scams. RURA reminded all telecom subscribers to carry out a regular check of SIM cards registered on their IDs by dialling *125#, and self-deregister any unrecognized SIM card.
Meanwhile, MTN Rwandacell Plc (MTN Rwanda), the telecommunications service provider in Rwanda, issued notice to its customers that as per directives from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), effective 1 September 2021, all Telecom Operators will be implementing new requirements for SIM Registration and SIM swapping.