Senegal’s telecoms watchdog the Authority of Regulation of Telecommunications and Posts (L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes, ARTP) has confirmed that the deadline for mobile network operators (MNOs) to confirm the identification and verification of their subscribers’ details closed as planned on 11 November 2016. At that date, however, some four million unidentified SIM cards were still in circulation out of a total mobile base of around 15 million users. In light of the high number of unregistered SIMS, the regulator has decided to grant MNOs one more week to allow latecomers to fall into line before their cards are deactivated. ARTP director Abdou Karim Sall has warned that there will be no more extensions, noting that ‘from next week, any customer who has not been identified will have their card suspended’, effective 19 November 2016.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in May this year Abdou Karim Sall gave the country’s telecoms operators – Orange Senegal, Tigo Senegal and Sudatel Senegal (Expresso) – six months to complete a mandatory identification of all mobile telecoms subscribers. Starting 10 May 2016, industry players had six months to comply he said, noting that to help ensure the success of the verification process for identifying users, all operators would be given access to government-held national identity files.