23 December 2012

Rwanda: SIM Card Registration a Welcome Move

Photo: William Oeri
A mobile phone user inserts a SIM card into a phone.

THE Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has fixed July 31, 2013 as the deadline for all mobile phone subscribers to have their SIM cards registered. The six-month exercise kicks off on February 4.

This is a timely move which should be supported by all stakeholders. Registration involves the collection of subscribers' personal information and will enable national security agencies to trace crimes and lawlessness perpetuated using mobile phones.

Unscrupulous people buy SIM cards and use them in crime before discarding them. With the compulsory registration such vices will be checked.

At one point or another, we have all heard of phone thefts, or we have been the victims ourselves. Extortions, threats and hate text messages are some of the more common crimes reported by mobile phone users. All these can easily be traced if the mobile providers have details of their clients.

SIM card registration has become a serious global exercise in telecoms, with many other countries on-course. In neighbouring Uganda, a similar exercise kicks off in March 2013, while Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa successfully completed the exercise sometime back.

Mobile phone users should try to register within the stipulated six months. The exercise is meant to protect the mobile phone users. It is meant to safeguard the mobile phone users against the increasing crime committed using mobile phones.

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