Tajik cellcos begin SIM re-registration

17 Oct 2016

Tajikistan’s largest mobile operator by users Babilon-Mobile has informed its customers via its website that it will begin re-registering all existing SIM cards on its network from 1 November. SIM card owners must bring their passport or other official I.D. documentation and their SIM to one of the cellco’s service centres to register their identity in compliance with a government order. All other cellcos in the country are expected to follow suit. As Babilon-Mobile notes, the re-registration is in accordance with Government Decision No. 207-7 of 30 April 2016. As previously reported by news site Asia-Plus, a follow-up resolution setting a one-year timeframe for re-registration of all SIMs was issued in late-June 2016, whilst the government order also provides for tighter regulation of the sale of new SIM cards. Back in December 2015 the lower house of parliament endorsed amendments to communications legislation that require mobile carriers to register all new SIM cards sold, alongside re-registering those already in circulation, under measures motivated by ‘anti-terrorism’ concerns. Reports also followed of a campaign to confiscate ‘illegally-sold’ SIM cards during the first half of 2016. Local commentators have surmised that the SIM card registration – alongside recent moves to legalise the blocking of internet sites and telephone networks – are direct responses to the September 2015 ‘mutiny’ of former deputy defence minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda, a national security incident which has subsequently been labelled an ‘attempted coup’ by the government, although the exact motives are disputed.

Tajikistan, Babilon-M