Ugandan cellcos told to complete SIM registration

3 Nov 2015

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has given the country’s mobile operators until the end of November to complete the registration process for all SIM card users. Cellcos could face fines or even the cancellation of their operating concession if they fail to comply, the regulator said. Ugandan newspaper New Vision quotes UCC Executive Director Godffrey Mutabaazi as saying: ‘The law requires us to register all SIM cards. Telecom companies cannot say no, they don’t have that mandate. We shall charge them a percentage of their gross annual revenue or go ahead and revoke their licences.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the UCC began enforcing the registration of new and existing mobile phone users on 1 March 2012. Customers of wireless services were initially given twelve months to register their SIM with their provider, backed up by a national identity document, such as a passport or driving licence. With only around three-quarters of users properly registered by early 2013, a number of extensions to the registration deadline were then offered, giving users to end-2013 to complete the process, but since then the UCC has made no moves to force operators to deactivate any unregistered lines. The country was home to 24.4 million mobile users at the end of June 2015, with four companies dominating the market: MTN, Airtel, Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL) and Africell.