Mozambique is set to introduce biometric SIM verification as it seeks to improve the registration and activation process for SIM cards.
The country’s government signed a new decree on 11th April approving proposed regulation on the registration of telecommunication services. It will be implemented within six months by the regulator INCM (Instituto Nacional de Comunicacoes de Mocambique / National Communications Institute).
Under the new legislation, anyone registering a SIM card will be required to provide their fingerprint and face biometrics, along with another approved form of identification such as a national ID card, passport or driver’s licence. Additionally, the decree calls for the registration of all mobile devices as well as sellers and agents of telecoms services.
According to CommsUpdate, INCM argues that the overhaul is necessary since the system is currently open to abuse, with users frequently using fraudulent documents to register. The regulator claims that over 10,000 pirated devices are activated every week.
Local outlet Carte de Mozambique reported that at a recent seminar held in Maputo to promote the new registration process, data science expert Reinaldo Zezela explained that using biometric data would “allow easy identification of the perpetrators of crimes in the sector, who today, due to lack of this information, commit fraud, with us left unable to identify or recognize them.”
Zezela added that two databases would be used for the process: one to store information on subscribers’ identities, SIMs and devices, and one to document fraud or attempted fraud by users. He noted that this would make it easier to enact mechanisms against users who fail to register correctly or are suspected of fraudulent activity.
The ICNM noted that it has been cooperating with mobile network operators (MNOs), ISPs and banking service providers on the overhauled registration process.