The process of registering and replacing a SIM card has been changed to incorporate a more secure set of requirements that should help the regulator keep track of the identities of mobile users.
New regulation regarding mobile subscriber legislation which came into effect on the 13th of June 2014 now obliges all telecommunications providers to disconnect all unregistered customers by Saturday the 12th of July 2014. This is similar to the blitzkrieg on unregistered lines carried out by operators last year.
Econet Wireless took the initiative to notify its subscribers yesterday when they flighted a public notice outlining the specific aspects regarding the SIM card registration process. The revised legislation requires service providers to verify full names, surname, ID number, address and identity of a subscriber when registering a SIM card.
This compels anyone buying a new SIM card to produce the following when buying and registering their line
- a copy of their identity particulars,(National ID, valid driver’s license, passport)
- Valid passport for foreigners
- a fully completed form and proof of registration.
- Proof of residence. As the one requirement that normally evades the majority of applicants it shall be represented by utility bills, lease agreements, affidavits of landlords, letters from chiefs or headmen, school headmasters or employers.
- For corporates or organisations – Copies of Certificate of Incorporation, Register of Directors and completed forms signed by authorised personnel
In the event that someone is caught presenting false subscriber information when they are registering they can be fined or imprisoned.A change in name, address or ownership of lines now requires notifying the service provider within 21 days.
A lost, stolen or destroyed SIM card now calls for a police report bearing a reference number. The report, together with positive ID is what will permit a service provider to provide a replacement for your SIM card.
All these changes are a huge step up from the previous requirements that allowed remote registration with operators like Telecel coming up with online and mobile platforms to make the process easier with no need for documentation.
According to a source from Econet all of their SIM card distributors had been made aware of these new changes to SIM registration by Friday 4 July. This came with detailed instructions that outlined how a failure by an agent or employee to verify customers details would lead to a penalty or fine.
It seems that this tougher regulation is now attaching liability for “ghost registrations” to the network operators as well, something that will likely increase the effectiveness of the registration process. It remains to be seen if this will eradicate the prolific street SIM card vendors market in the process.