UCC maintains SIM registration deadline

21 Feb 2013

Sector regulator the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has confirmed that it is sticking to its 28 February deadline for SIM registration, but remains tight-lipped regarding the progress of the scheme. The Daily Monitor writes that the nation’s operators were similarly cagey on the matter, noting that Orange claimed to have registered 80% of its subscribers by end-January 2013, whilst MTN said it had signed up 70% by the same date and Airtel and Warid 68% and 67% respectively. The SIM registration drive aims to cut the use of mobile phones in crime and requires new and existing customers to provide proof of identity. Customers that have not registered by 1 March will have their SIMs blocked by cellcos. However, the absence of a national ID card has been something of a sticking point, restricting the registration of users, particularly in rural areas. Indeed, local activist group Human Rights Network for Journalists has filed an application to court seeking an injunction to prevent UCC from blocking SIMs of unregistered users, on the grounds that the exercise is illegal, as it has not been given parliamentary approval.