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Zambian SIM registration cut-off deadline delayed to February 2014

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 20 Dec 2013

Zambian SIM registration cut-off deadline delayed to February 2014

The Zambian government has announced that all unregistered SIM cards will be de-activated in February next year, a month after the expiry of the registration deadline.

The deputy minister of communications Col. Panji Kaunda said at a press briefing that the Zambian government has already agreed with mobile phone service providers that subscribers who will not have their SIM registered by December 31 deadline will have certain services suspended until they register.

He said this is because the Zambian government says that it is unfair to completely disconnect people after the December deadline but rather to give them a grace period of up to February to register their SIM cards.

During this grace period, Kaunda said those who have not yet registered their SIM cards will only be allowed to send and receive messages and not make calls.

The deputy minister also revealed that only about 5, 670, 000 SIM cards have so far been registered out of a total of 10, 347, 527 mobile phone subscribers in the country.

The Zambian government has already refused to extend the deadline to allow more people to register their SIM cards claiming the period for the registration was sufficient for people to have registered.

Contrary to widespread speculation, Kaunda said the SIM card registration exercise is not aimed at invading people’s privacy but rather at enhancing national security.

Kaunda said Zambia is among the 48 countries in Africa carrying out the exercise.

“In so many countries around the world, unregistered SIM cards have been used to commit crimes such as theft even terrorism. So when we say we want details of the users, we need them to enhance national security and not for any other reasons,” Kaunda said.

Meanwhile, MTN Zambia has launched a campaign to ensure that it registers all SIM cards for its customers before the deadline.

The campaign involves the offering of a free calling minute everyday for one year only to customers who have registered their SIM cards. The company has also set up registration points in all districts and post offices.

MTN Zambia has about 4.5 million customers but only 2.6 million have so far registered their SIM cards.

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