THE biometric simcards registration launched by the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) in May 1, 2019 is among some major success made by the fifth phase government.
Among other benefits, the digital identification helps the State to control cybercrime and fraudulent mobile phone abuse.
Initiating the technology, the public were given until January 20, this year; to register their SIM cards through the new biometric registration system, as the country joins a growing list of African nations incorporates the biometric data and digital identification revolution.
Unlike the old simcards registration, the new biometric system requires a citizen to have a national identification card in an exercise that started in 2013, although only a small percentage of the population has so far received the actual cards because of printing and other related issues.
To make a fast picking up programme, TCRA allowed those with NIDA registration numbers to go on with biometric registration of their SIM cards.
In the course, the TCRA said that already it has switched off some three million sim cards and disconnected 15 million more by the end of January, because their owners were yet to register them via the biometric system.
The regulator reiterated that it would take to task any citizen/person who would use his/her National Identification Numbers (NINs) to register Sim cards for another/more persons.
The government had scheduled registration of Sim cards for last year starting on May 1, 2019 with a deadline of December 31, 2019, however, on December 27, 2019, President John Magufuli extended the deadline by 20 more days.
The TCRA's statistics however, shows that there are more than 48.8 million active Sim cards in the country. But by January 19, 2020 only a total of 28.4 million Sim cards had been registered using the new system.
Reinforcing, TCRA then announced: "We urge those who have not registered using the new system to do so and if you want to register a Sim card for the use of your son/daughter or relative, you have to follow the laid down procedures."
In previous years, Tanzanian citizens were required to show their telecom provider as a voting card, driver's licence or passport to register their SIM cards.
But those without such documents could typically register using the documents of friends or relatives.
Now, in order to activate pre- and post-paid SIM cards, mobile phone users in the country must first register with the National Identification Authority, which requires all citizens to provide their fingerprints and proof of identity as part of the registration process.
To complete the biometric SIM card registration process, users must then go to a local service provider, show their NIDA card or number, get their thumbprint taken, and information then shared, vetted and confirmed through the NIDA system.
Those who do not register using the biometric system are locked out of their SIM cards and will not be able to make or receive phone calls or text messages.
The new registration process also ensures that each user only registers one SIM card per network.
In the event, all eight networks promised full cooperation with the TCRA, according to a representative from the Tanzanian Mobile Network Operators.