Yesterday Telecel announced that its subscribers can now register their lines (as per POTRAZ directive) through a website and 2 mobile methods involving sending messages to Telecel. We noted that these registration methods are very convenient in comparison to the other mobile operators.
We also expressed concern that POTRAZ might not accept the registrations as valid because the general view is that proof of residence and some form of identity document is required to register. We contacted Telecel to get clarification on this concern. The title of this article sums up their response. Here is the full text of the email from Telecel:
There are no directions from POTRAZ requiring proof of residence. While Econet has asked its subscribers to come to its stores to register, it is also using other means of collecting data which do not require production of ID cards or proof of residence.
If physical production of ID cards was to be a requirement then, considering the millions of mobile subscribers there are, various networks’ stores would be overwhelmed. A network with five million subscribers to register, for instance, and with say 20 stores would have to register 250 000 people per store. This would be a physical impossibility within the time period there is. Many subscribers in rural areas would be unable to easily reach a store.
The electronic method that Telecel has introduced is the most practical way of registering subscribers who cannot make it to a network store, such as older people, women with families and the sick, especially in far flung rural areas, who desperately need their phones but will have their phones cut off if they are unable to register their lines.
It should be pointed out that pre-paid subscribers who had already registered with their networks prior to this exercise did so by filling out a registration form after they purchased the line, which they handed in, put in a collection box or posted. They were not required to produce proof of identity.
Were production of proof of identity and residence to be made a new condition of registration, the networks would have to scrap their existing databases and re-register those who had already registered. There is no such requirement for this to be done.
Nevertheless Telecel would want to ensure that the data it collects from registrations is as accurate as possible. There are various ways in which information supplied by those who register their SIM cards via a mobile phone or the internet can be verified. Telecel is unable to disclose at present what these are. However, it expects that its verification processes will prove effective.
Those who supply incorrect information are liable to have their lines disconnected and to be barred from purchasing another one. They will also be liable to criminal prosecution.
We will contact POTRAZ just so we can all be sure.