Niger cuts off unregistered SIMs

28 Nov 2013

Following the conclusion of its SIM registration campaign, Niger’s telecoms watchdog Autorite de Regulation Multisectorielle (ARM) has deactivated around a third of total mobile lines in a bid to curb criminal activity in the West African country. AFP cites the regulator’s director-general Almoustapha Boubacar as saying at a press conference that unregistered SIM cards represented roughly 1.7 million out of a total 5.4 million mobile subscribers. ‘From today, non-registered SIM cards can no longer be used,’ Boubacar said, adding that sales of pre-activated SIMs have also been banned. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the mobile market in Niger is home to four network operators, namely: Airtel Niger, the local unit of Indian telecoms giant Bharti Airtel; France’s Orange Niger; Moov Niger, owned by Atlantique Telecom, itself a subsidiary of UAE-based telco Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat); and SahelCom, a subsidiary of state-owned fixed line incumbent Sonitel.