Uganda’s communications regulatory body, UCC has advised telecommunications companies to immediately cease the sale of SIM cards through hawkers, street vendors, street agents and any other establishments that are not licensed by Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) or other municipal and town authorities.
UCC was last week directed by government to look into the case of active SIM cards that are not fully registered. This came about after the murder of a Kampala-based cashier Suzan Magara, whose kidnappers reached the family to demand a ransom using SIM Cards that cannot be traced.
“All telecom operators are on notice if they don’t switch off illegally acquired SIM cards they will be penalized and or have their licenses revoked. Cabinet has taken this position and we will enforce it without exception,” Minister of ICT and National Guidance Frank Tumwebaze said.
MTN, Airtel, and Africell have already stopped the sale of SIM Cards after issuing official statements in response to the directive by UCC.
MTN’s statement read: “As per this directive, MTN Uganda shall need to acquire and install card readers at its respective service centers to validate national identification information before the activation of a new SIM card. This information will be instantly verified electronically against the national database maintained by the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA).”
Airtel’s statement was similar: “Following the Directives issued by UCC in respect to the Sale, Registration, and Replacement of SIM Cards, we notify our esteemed Customers, Distributors, Staff, Stakeholders and the general public, that Airtel Uganda has temporarily stopped the Sale of Airtel SIM Cards until further notice. This notice takes immediate effect.”