Uganda Telecom companies face deregistration over unregistered Simcards


Eng. John Nasasira, Uganda’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology. (R)

Three years after the Ugandan government ordered for the nationwide registration of simcards, it is concerned that there are still millions of unregistered cards in use.

The registration order followed the enactment of the Interception of Communication Act which provides for the registration of existing SIM cards.

According to Godfrey Mutabazi, the Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission(UCC), they have directed the telecom companies many times to block unregistered simcards to no avail.

“The continued violation of the directives can lead to withdrawal of operating licenses and telecom companies should come with clear answers because the security of the country is at stake. Telecom companies should shut down all unregistered simcards in use so that everyone is at peace.” Mutabazi said

SIM card registration is part of the government’s efforts to enhance security of lives and property of Ugandans, officials say.
UCC is the regulatory body of the communications sector in Uganda; it was established by the Uganda Communications Act (Cap 106 Laws of Uganda) to facilitate and enable the development of a modern communications sector and infrastructure.

Emphasizing UCC’s resolve, Information and Communication Technology Minister John Nasasira has put Telecom operators on the spotlight for allowing usage of unregistered simcards.

Speaking at the second Communications Consumers Parliament in Kampala on Tuesday, Minister Nasasira directed telecom operators to fix the problem in order to facilitate security telecom services in the country.

The Communications Consumer Parliament is an initiative of the telecom industry regulator – the UCC – to bring all the players together to discuss issues, complaints, concerns and challenges in the sector.

“The problem of using unregistered simcards should be sorted out once and for all. Telecom operators should justify why some unregistered simcards are still in use. With the registration of simcards exercise it was expected that unregistered ones would automatically be shut down, but many continue to be in use, sometimes by criminals,” Minister Nasasira said.

Now, the UCC says all new and existing mobile phone numbers will have to be registered in order to be activated on a mobile network in Uganda.

Dennis Kakonge, the Legal Director Airtel Uganda said they did receive a directive from UCC and are making all arrangements to get rid of the unregistered simcards. Mohammad Ghaddar, the Chief Operating Officer Africell, which acquired French telecom company Orange, said they were still experiencing challenges of transition.

Meanwhile Minister Nasasira also stated the government will move in to stop the misuse of social media especially for pornographic purposes.