Zambia’s Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications has issued an update regarding the progress of the country’s SIM registration programme. In a statement published on the website of the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), communications minister Yamfwa D. Mukanga confirmed that all three of the country’s mobile network operators have now commenced SIM registration. With MTN Zambia the first to begin taking customers details on 23 July 2012, the cellco has reportedly registered 2.46 million subscribers so far. Market leader Airtel Zambia, meanwhile, began registering subscribers the following month, on 31 August 2012, and has since acquired details for 1.7 million customers. Finally, Zamtel Mobile, the market’s smallest player and a subsidiary of state-owned fixed line incumbent Zamtel, commenced the registration exercise on 31 October 2013, and has to date procured information on 352,753 customers.
Under the government’s Statutory Instrument No. 65 of 2011, entitled the Information and Communication Technologies (Registration of Electronic Communication Apparatus) Regulations, 2011 (published on 28 June 2011), it was made mandatory for vendors and network operators to capture identity details when selling a pre-paid SIM card. While no deadline for registration was initially set as part of the legislation, in this latest statement regarding the programme the minister confirmed that anyone found to have bought, sold or activated a SIM card after 15 November 2013 without first registering customer details will be liable for prosecution. Further, Mr Mukanga confirmed that the deadline for the registration of existing subscribers has now been set as 31 December 2013, following which all unregistered SIMs will be deactivated.