Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has begun implementing its ‘SIM Card Enabled Telecommunications Services Registration Regulation’, which was originally published on 31 December 2015. As from 12 July 2017 the country’s service providers are required to enforce the new regulations, which cover the registration and verification of user data and identity, including the implementation of a biometric verification process (involving the taking of fingerprints). Additionally, a ceiling has been introduced for the number of pre-paid SIM cards consumers may acquire, set at ten from each licensed cellco (Batelco, Zain and Viva), equating to a total of 30 per person. Furthermore, unauthorised shops are now prevented from selling SIM cards, with the TRA noting that the regulation only permits the sale of SIMs through the operators’ outlets and from resellers who have gained formal approval from the watchdog.
The new procedures were made in agreement with Bahrain’s telcos and is a mandatory process for all operators going forward, the regulator noted.