A new investigative report has shown that a number of unregistered simcards are still active, and can be used to make and recieve calls, as well as text messages.
The report published by the New Vision says that some Simcards were indeed switched off after the August 31, 2013 deadline but several clients said they have continued making and receiving calls despite not registering their SimCards.
The report also says that it is easy to buy a simcard, and even use it without registering.
One of the giant operators requires a customer to register only their name and start making calls. In the process people give wrong names yet their other details are not taken.
“Dear subscriber, your registration details have been verified. Your details are incomplete. Please contact the nearest registration agent to provide correct data,” an SMS from one of the companies read after a wrong name was sent.
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), lacks capacity to determine unregistered but active SIM cards.
“It is only the operators who can tell, We are relying on the mercies of the telecom operators yet some of them are only interested in making profits, not the country’s security.” a source from UCC said.
The deputy Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, expressed concern over the revelation, saying it is detrimental to national security.
“Unregistered phone numbers in use! That is risky for us,” Onyango exclaimed. “We advocate that SIM cards be registered because that would make it easy for us to trace crime suspects and people would fear committing crimes on phone.”
Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director, explained that laws bar the commission from keeping a database of registered and unregistered phone numbers.
“We have already finished SIM card registration. If the operators are allowing people to use mobile phones without registering numbers then that is illegal,” Mutabazi said.
He implored the public to help the commission to crackdown lax telecom firms. “If you are selling SIM cards without registering the users that means you are doing an illegal act. Anyone using an unregistered card should report to UCC.”
Source: New Vision