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Zambia clamps down on illegal SIM card sales

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 14 Aug 2014

Zambia clamps down on illegal SIM card sales

Selling pre-activated SIM cards to subscribers has landed Zambia’s mobile networks in hot water.

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has threatened legal action against the country’s mobile operators for carrying out these activities.

Mobile subscribers have to register SIM cards in Zambia before they can use them.

But ZICTA has said that during a random check in Nakonde and Isoka, over 1,200 kilometres north of the capital Lusaka, it discovered that operators -- allegedly MTN in particular -- were selling pre-activated SIM cards to subscribers.

ZICTA consumer protection officer Edgar Mlauzi said the authority also discovered that Airtel was allegedly registering Tanzanian subscribers using voters’ cards, contrary to the guidelines.

“The law was very clear that all foreign subscribers must only have their SIM cards registered upon provision of a valid passport or a work permit. But operators are registering Tanzanians using voters’ cards contrary to the guidelines,” Mlauzi said.

Mlauzi also said that all mobile service providers found wanting will be handed over to the legal department at ZICTA to commence prosecution. He said there are security guidelines that mobile operators have to follow.

Two weeks ago, ZICTA also warned operators of possible legal action for allegedly providing poor network services to subscribers.

Last year, ZICTA dragged all the country’s three operators MTN, Airtel and Zamtel to court over poor services.

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