Rwanda to register SIM cards electronically

Rwanda’s government has issued a directive calling for registration of SIM cards electronically, even as the country aims to beat the mid-2012 deadline to have all Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards in East Africa registered.


This comes after Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA) reached an agreement with the concerned stakeholders to hurry the registration exercise, which was supposed to have started two years back.

Officials say the delay was caused by extensive consultations among stakeholders on the best possible way to get the process going.

The East Africa Communications Organization (EACO) had set the deadline to curtail the increasing mobile crime activities that have seen phone users within East Africa fall prey to criminals.

Rwanda, although reportedly late in starting the process, will soon join the other East African countries in the SIM registration process. Kenya and Tanzania currently lead the pack with 80 percent SIM registration already done, reports The New Times newspaper.

RURA’s head of the registration project John Baptiste Mutabazi told The New Times that Rwanda has already developed applications with telecom operators to process SIM registration.

“On Thursday, the technical committee presented to the steering committee a project document highlighting the awareness campaign strategy, the registration process together with the registration plan for approval,” he said.

He further stated that RURA has established a secured network connection between the country’s National ID Agency (NIDA) and telecom operators such as MTN, Airtel and Tigo.

Upon buying a SIM card, a user will have to submit their identity (ID) number to be forwarded by the mobile operators to ID agencies, who will do a profile check on the customer before clearing the card for usage.

Aside from just registering SIM cards, Kenya has gone a step further to shut down all fake phones, after the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) found that fraudsters had devised a way of using other people’s identities to carry out crimes.

It is for this reason that CCK has set September 30, 2012 as the deadline for counterfeit phone switch off.

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