PURA fines cellcos for activating unregistered SIMs; suspends third-party sales

29 Aug 2019

The Gambia’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has fined the country’s largest mobile operator Africell GMD5.58 million (USD109,000) for breaching the law by selling SIM cards activated at points of sale to customers without registering their ID details, newspaper Foroyaa reported. PURA explained that it carried out a SIM registration monitoring exercise for all GSM operators in randomly selected locations across the country, and was able to purchase 186 Africell SIM cards without ID registration, for which it levied a fine of GMD30,000 per SIM. QCell and Gamcel received small fines of GMD120,000 and GMD90,000 for illegally activating four and three SIMs respectively, while no such transgressions were recorded for Comium.

PURA also ordered the GSM operators to suspend the sale of SIMs by third parties until the following remedying conditions are put in place:

• new SIM Cards can only be sold at their branches or Customer Care Centres

• conduct extra training for Customer Care Agents and third-party sales personnel

• review awareness of the whole SIM card registration process

• institute additional checks and controls on the system.