Telecoms Resume With Simcard Swaps and Sales

Communication regulatory body; UCC on March 9th temporarily halted simcard sales or replacement following the murder of a Kampala-based cashier Suzan Magara, whose kidnappers reached the family to demand a ransom using simcards that were unregistered and couldn’t be traced. The body asked all telecom companies to hold on until they recieved ‘Electronic Biometeric Card Readers’ from the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA).

After almost 2 months of wait, NIRA handed over 50 electronic biometeric card readers to UCC on Friday last week that are to assist the verifying of citizens’ national identification cards during sim replacements/swaps. NIRA claims that the new technology will help telecom companies verify simcard ‘rightful’ owners with the personal details submitted to them (NIRA).

UCC came out and set ‘tough’ guidelines for those that will be replacing/swaping simcards. Under the new rules, the simcard holder has to present a vaild letter from the Uganda police confirming loss of their simcard, present an original national ID to the operator where the operator will have to retain a copy of its, the operator as well as to first verify the authentic of the national ID using the electronic biometeris card readers provided to them. And finally, the operator will have to re-register the applicant for the sim swap/replacement and obtain a fresh photography from them.

MTN Uganda has already resumed with the process and still limited to a few of its service centers.

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