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SA firm launches 'tap and go' SIM card registration

SA firm launches 'tap and go' SIM card registration

Johannesburg-based tech firm Axon Wireless, focused on solutions for the telecommunications and financial services markets, has rolled out what it describes as 'Africa's first 'tap and go' system for mobile SIM card registration' to the Ivory Coast market.

According to the company, the Ivory Coast is the first country on the continent where mobile users are able to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements by placing their national identity cards on a mobile phone screen and enabling agent's pre-loaded Axon software complete the process.

Justin Lipshitz, chief executive officer of Axon Wireless, said, "Mobile's all about convenience and we're extending that efficiency to the customer sign-up process. The system has been exceptionally well-received by mobile users who have historically felt inconvenienced by onerous SIM registration requirements."

Although the technology was thoroughly tested in South Africa, the company rolled it out in the Ivory Coast.

AXON Wireless said that while South Africa has a very advanced National ID NFC Chip Card, the encryption keys for that card are not available.

"In the Ivory Coast, we were able to obtain the necessary permissions to extract the data from the cards, for a specific project. The technology has been tested in South Africa, but the new Tap & Go has not been rolled out here. We are working towards enabling this for the South African market," Lipshitz added.

The Ivory Coast ID Card supports NFC, which made the process more seamless, AXON Wireless stated.

The company is using computer vision technologies like OCR and MRZ for cards that are not equipped with these types of chips.

Lipshitz said there is a growing demand for this technology and specifically because of the need for MNOs and subscribers to comply with updated SIM card registration processes in various markets.

The software developed in Johannesburg by Axon is loaded onto agents' existing mobile phones which the company says minimises SIM registration costs.

"In addition, the software is flexible which means any amendments to a particular country's registration requirements can be easily actioned," the company adds.

In October 2019 ITWeb Africa reported that the mandatory SIM card re-registration process undertaken by MTN Nigeria resulted in 0.6 million active subscribers being disconnected and limiting the operator's base growth.

In September 2019 the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) threatened to disconnect over 39 million mobile phone subscribers who fail to register their SIM cards via the country's mandatory biometric system by 31 December 2019.

According to the regulator, to date only 5.2 million mobile phone users (12%) of the total number of subscribers have complied.

Lipshitz said: "There is a lot of demand for such technology in Uganda, Zimbabwe, though we have not addressed these regions yet. At this stage, we are working on opportunities inSouth East Asia, the Gulf States and other counties in Africa."

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