Only 29% of SIM cards registered - CRAN

The Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) says only 795,991 active SIM cards out of 2.7 million have been registered, with four months left before the deadline set by the regulator.

According to CRAN, unregistered lines will be disconnected after the deadline.

CRAN launched the national SIM registration consumer awareness campaign in June 2022.

The campaign was in anticipation of the mandatory SIM card registration which started in January 2023 in line with the provisions of Section 77 of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009) and ancillary regulations.

"As of 15 June 2023, there were 2.7 million active SIM cards across all licensed networks in Namibia, of which 795,991 SIM cards were registered. This signifies a 29% registration rate," said CRAN's Executive for Communication and Consumer Relations Katrina Sikeni.

The slow-paced registration, according to Sikeni, is caused by some local authorities denying access to setting up registration points and the general reluctance of customers.

“Some challenges experienced by mobile operators during the SIM card registration process entail resistance from local authorities in allowing for the setup of registration points, as well as power failures in remote areas that interrupt the automated registration process. In addition, customers provide inaccurate information, while some do not have national identification documents or proof of residence,” she said.

Going forward, Sikeni said these challenges will be taken into consideration to ensure a seamless process.

“The industry SIM registration monitoring committee will consider these challenges by engaging relevant stakeholders to ensure a seamless registration,” she said.

In terms of biometrics, CRAN reiterated that the May directive remains in effect, in which clients are not obliged to provide biometrics.

However, customers who voluntarily choose to provide their biometrics data are welcome to do so.

“As such the operators will only require the information as set out in the regulations, which includes, the name of the customer and address of ordinary residence; Namibian ID, passport or any other official identity document issued by the government of any other country.”

“The Authority conducted a compliance monitoring exercise, which has concluded that all licensed operators have complied with the directive as issued by CRAN. There is no mandatory registration of biometric data, during the SIM registration process,” clarified Sikeni.

The SIM card registration is a national initiative aimed at facilitating the investigation of crimes committed with the aid of mobile devices. 

"Therefore, it is important that national safety and security agencies are capacitated to ensure a safe digital environment," she said.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology says it has not deliberated on any plans to extend the deadline for SIM card registration beyond the cut-off date of 31 December 2023, after there were calls from some operators who raised concerns that the registration process was not moving fast enough, thus they were not too sure if all of their clients will be registered.




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Last modified on Tuesday, 12 September 2023 19:26

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