Namibia introduces mandatory SIM registration

29 Mar 2021

Namibia approved new regulations on 15 March that will require all mobile phone subscribers to register their SIM cards before being able to access network services, reports The Namibian. Minister of Information and Communication Technology Peya Mushelenga stressed the regulation was partly necessitated by Namibia’s increasing crime rate. ‘Right now anyone can go into a shop, buy a SIM card, and commit a crime. We are moving towards what is happening in South Africa where one cannot just by a SIM card – it must be registered,’ he said, adding the new regulation was established in consultation with the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), the director general of the Namibia Central Intelligence Service, and all affected telecommunications service providers. The enforcement data of the new regulation has yet to be announced.

Once the new regulation is in force, service providers will be required to store all their customers’ information for a period of at least five years from the date of telecommunication, while the Namibian Police or the Namibia Central Intelligence Service will need to obtain authorisation from a judge or magistrate to access the records. MTC, the country’s largest mobile network operator (MNO), notes it already encourages clients to register their SIMs on a voluntary basis.