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Mandatory SIM card registration hovers at 33%

2023-11-08  Staff Reporter

Mandatory SIM card registration hovers at 33%

At the end of September this year, approximately 33% or some 924 000 of the more than 2.7 million active SIM cards across all licensed networks in the country had been registered. This is a marginal improvement from the 29% about 796 000 SIM cards registered by mid-June this year. 

Meanwhile, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (Cran) has reminded all stakeholders that the deadline for mandatory SIM card registration, which is in accordance with Section 77 of the Communications Act, is still 31 December 2023. 

“MTC has the most active SIM
card subscribers totaling approximately 2 353 298 of which 799 797 SIM cards are registered to date nationwide,” stated Cran spokesperson Katrina Sikeni. 

This is in contrast to Telecom Namibia Limited that has reported 429 732 active subscribers, with approximately 117 585 registered as of 30 September 2023. Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd accounts for 5 437 active SIM cards, of which 5 152 SIM cards are registered. UCOM Mobile Namibia (Pty) Ltd has registered all their 1 113 active subscribers. 

“The current SIM card registration rate of 33% as of 30 September 2023, may be attributed to, among other things, resistance from local authorities to avail registration
points, power outages in remote areas, and slow customer uptake,” Sikeni noted. 

To address these challenges, Cran has requested regional governors and chief regional officers to provide free venues for SIM card registration in local authorities and to assist with dissemination of information and awareness amongst communities. 

The SIM card registration conditions mandate users to register their cards with their mobile service providers. Sikeni states that unregistered SIM cards will be suspended for three months after 31 December 2023. If a customer attempts to use the service during suspension period, they will not be able to use the service and will simply receive a warning message. 

“During the three-month suspension period, the service may be reinstated, and the customer can retain the mobile number linked to the SIM card, once the customer provides the necessary information for SIM card registration. If the suspension period expires without registration, the mobile service provider will cancel the service and number. The customer must then purchase and register a new SIM card, which shall result in the customer losing the previous mobile number,” said Sikeni. 

Mandatory SIM card registration aligns with international best practices, bringing Namibia in line with 157 other countries, that have already implemented this measure. 

The benefits of SIM card registration include aiding crime investigations involving mobile devices and providing consumers with a digital identity. Additionally, it enables increased access to digital and online services, supporting virtual education, mobile banking, and online shopping. 

Consumers can register their
SIM cards with their subscribed service provider by providing their full name, proof of residential
address, and identity number through a copy of their identity document or passport. The SIM registration conditions apply to Namibian nationals and foreigners during their stay in Namibia. 

Sikeni urged ICT consumers to register their SIM cards before 31 December 2023 to enjoy the full benefits of ICT products and services and avoid losing their numbers. 

2023-11-08  Staff Reporter

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