Ugandan SIM registration comes up short as deadline approaches

Ugandan SIM registration comes up short as deadline approaches

Yet another SIM registration exercise has run into deadline difficulties. With only a few days left, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and operators are trying to get cardholders to act fast to avoid potential disconnection.

The original 180-day window, given by the UCC to operators for what is called the regularisation of all registered SIM cards expires on 12 November.

SIM card regularisation requires registered owners to physically visit their service providers with their original national identity cards for a thorough screening and verification process including scanning and thumbprint verification. Each active SIM card must be associated with a Ugandan National Identification Card, with a limit of no more than ten SIM cards from the same telecom company per cardholder.

As local news service the Independent points out, according to data from the UCC, Uganda has more than 30 million registered SIM cards, so the registration process is only missing about 2% of cards, totalling around 600,000 subscribers. In theory they will be contacted by their service providers, though the deadline is fast approaching.

However, the Independent adds that a significant portion of the population lacks national ID cards. These people will need to contact the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA).

By an odd coincidence 600,000 SIMs is the number of cards re-registered by MTN Ghana earlier this month after they were blocked by the National Communications Authority as a result of the country's SIM card re-registration exercise.

In compliance with the SIM re-registration directive from the NCA, the leading operator in Ghana blocked 5.4 million SIMs that were not registered as of 31 May 2023. But it was able to re-register about one-eleventh at the end of September 2023. That said, the disconnections still decreased its subscriber base by some 9.3% to 25.8 million.

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