966k SIM cards registered by MTC, biometric registration to continue

Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) has announced that it has registered 966,000 of its subscribers and expects to register the remaining 1.7 million over the next 11 months using its biometric system, VERIFI. 

The listed telco said despite privacy data concerns, it will continue to use its VERIFI system to capture subscribers’ images and fingerprints, as part of its proactive measure to clamp down fraudulent activities. 

"MTC has thus taken the decision to set VERIFI as a condition of sale for all its services in protection of its own business, in anticipation of where the business is moving to and most importantly in protection of its customers.  During the course of business MTC has been defrauded by customers presenting false identification documents, with the VERIFI tool such occurrences can be avoided," MTC Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs officer Tim Ekandjo said, adding that data collected will not be shared with any third parties, unless consent is granted.  

"Those who fail or not willing to have their face and fingerprint, unfortunately do not complete the registration process, hence their services may be discontinued when the 12-month period lapses.” 

Ekandjo, insist VERIFI allows for accurate registration of SIM cards and remove the risk of presentation of false identification during the SIM registration process. 

"MTC understands that the provision of biometric data is categorised as personal data, and the VERIFI tool is operated in terms of the draft Namibian Data Protection Bill and further adheres to the GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation) and AU Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection. The information obtained via VERIFI will not be shared with any other operator or institution without the express consent of the customers as per the draft Namibian Data Protection Bill, AU Convention and the GDPR," said Ekandjo. 

“MTC has reduced fraudulent activities by 80% since the introduction of SIM card registration, as customers can no longer purchase SIM cards without having been registered.“ 

Queried on the cost, Ekandjo said the entity at the moment is not worried about the investment but more concerned with protection of consumers. 

"It is more painful to hear of people being scammed their whole salary, than other spending for example million of dollars to safeguard them. The system is locally procured and managed, with the data stored within MTC secure cloud storage," he added. 

This comes as Namibians have a set period to register their SIM cards or face disconnection as part of mandatory registration regulations adopted by some governments as part of efforts to mitigate security concerns, address crime and enable the application of digital services.

VERIFI according to MTC  is a KYC (Know Your Customer) tool which is utilized for KYC purposes and thereby creating a digital customer identity.




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Last modified on Wednesday, 01 February 2023 18:26

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