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Two million mobile numbers deactivated in Zambia

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 03 Feb 2014

Two million mobile numbers deactivated in Zambia

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has revealed that over two million SIM cards have been deregistered because the owners failed to beat the January 31, 2014 registration deadline.

ZICTA said it has also instructed the country’s three mobile operators MTN, Airtel and Zamtel to abide by the switch-off directive.

ZICTA public relations officer Ngabo Nankonde said the authority has sent inspectors to verify reports that mobile operators have not switched-off all the unregistered SIM cards and warned that such operators will be punished.

Nankonde said out of 10.28 million subscribers in the country, only 7.9 million have managed to register their numbers. This means that 2.38 million people failed to registered their SIM cards and have subsequently been deregistered.

“Any mobile service provider connecting the unregistered SIM cards is going against the law and the directive of the government and action will be taken against them. Subscribers that registered their SIM cards but have been disconnected should go and see the operators immediately,” Nankonde said.

She said there would be no extension of the deadline and that subscribers whose SIM cards have been deregistered will have their numbers cancelled.

Nankonde said the authority has directed operators to issue new mobile phone numbers to the subscribers that have been deregistered and that they have to register and get activated within two days.

ZICTA started the SIM card registration exercise in August 2012 and the exercise came to an end on December 31, 2013 but was extended to January 31, 2014 after the Zambian government said less than six million SIM cards had been registered.

However, subscribers whose SIM cards have been deregistered are planning to take legal action against ZICTA and the Zambian. These subscribers claim the government exercise has been illegal.

Opposition Heritage party President Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda had warned ZICTA and the Zambian government of legal action if they disabled SIM cards for subscribers.

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