Tanzania: Only 5 Million SIM Cards Have Been Registered Biometrically

Dar es Salaam — Only 5.2 million mobile phone users (12 per cent) have biometrically registered their simcards with the December 31 deadline set by the government looming.

In May the government through Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) directed all Subscriber Identification Module (Sim) cards to biometrically register their lines by the end of the year.

Following the snail pace of registration TCRA and service providers have launched a campaign to sensitize the public on the need to register biometrically.

Speaking during the launching of the campaign head of TCRA communication department Mr Fredrick Ntobi said more than 39 million subscribers haven't registered their lines.

He insisted that TCRA wouldn't push back the registration deadline.

"I call for subscribers to make sure that their lines are registered before the December 31 deadline; those who will fail to do so will be locked out of the service," said Mr Ntobi.

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Speaking on behalf of service providers, head of Vodacom Tanzania PLC communication department Mr Alex Bitekeye said they have decided to join forces due to slow pace of registration.

"We will use the media as well as increase registration machines so that many subscribers register their lines," said Mr Bitekeye.

In March, last year, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) launched a pilot project to register Sim cards using the technology.

The exercise was conducted in Zanzibar and Dodoma, Dar es Salaam, Coast Region, Singida, Tanga and Iringa regions.

According to the regulator, the move was meant to get rid of dishonest Sim card users and registration agents who harboured malicious intentions, including committing crimes.

Subscribers will have to register their Sim cards through biometric technology, using Nida IDs or at least a Nida registration number by December 31.

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