Mozambique cellcos disconnect one million unregistered lines

7 Mar 2016

Mozambique’s three mobile network operators have jointly announced that they have disconnected one million accounts for which users have failed to register the correct details. According to a report from APA, the disconnection affects SIM cards which were acquired before 20 November 2015; cards bought after that date can now only be activated once the customer submits the required information, which includes user’s name, identity card number, date, place of issue and validity, phone number, serial number of the pre-paid SIM card, address and signature.

The government has been trying since 2010 to force cellcos to register all SIM details, but operators mCel, Movitel and Vodacom repeatedly called for more time to complete what they say has been an enormous task. Mozambique was home to an estimated 18 million mobile subscribers at the end of September 2015, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, with users fairly evenly split between the three providers. New regulations mean that SIM cards can now only be bought from authorised dealers, which could seriously affect future take-up in rural areas, where users previously relied on itinerant vendors.