We just received a press release from Telecel announcing that the mobile company has introduced online and mobile registration to comply with the POTRAZ SIM card registration directive issued months ago.
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) directed all mobile operators to register their subscribers by August 31. Last month, POTRAZ issued a statement in the press, advising all subscribers to register their lines or risk disconnection.
For the web registration, you will intuitively head to www.telecel.co.zw right? Well, hold a bit there. Telecel Zim took that site down (their only presence on the internet) some 5 months ago. A special purpose website has been created for the web registration. It’s www.telecelregistration.com. The website has instructions to get you started.
The mobile registration system Telecel has introduced is similar to the one subscribers use when making a balance enquiry. To register, a subscriber dials *176#. This opens up an interactive platform, guiding the subscriber through the process of registering the mobile phone’s SIM card. According to Telecel, the whole process should last about a minute.
Subscribers can also register through free SMSes but Telecel’s not recommending this method, apparently because it is very cumbersome. It involves text messages going back and forth between the subscriber and Telecel. To start the subscriber sends a text message with the word ‘START’ to 23150. The Telecel system responds with a name request SMS and when sent it acknowledges via SMS requesting more info. And on and on until you’re done. Cumbersome yes!
The web and mobile registration will surely make it convenient for Telecel subscribers to comply with the state requirements. A Telecel spokesperson rightly says “When registration has been made as easy as this, there is no reason why people should not start registering immediately”.
Strangely though, from what we gather here, all the Telecel registration methods don’t involve submitting hard copies of your proof of residence or identification. Maybe Telecel will require you to bring these documents to their offices later. We have a feeling POTRAZ will not accept the registrations without the documentation to prove subscriber identity and place of residence.
We have emailed Telecel to get clarification and will update this article when they respond. They usually do within a few hours.
UPDATE: They responded. You can read the response here.
Fears aside, Telecel’s providing the easiest SIM card registration around. Even with the appealing Isuzu truck prize magnet, I still can’t gather the strength to get my documents and go join an Econet queue to register my SIM cards. I’ll have to eventually but hey.