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Yesterday, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) gave a deadline to all telecom companies in regards to the status of SIM Card Registration, which started way back in 2013. As part of UCC’s regulatory oversight, they conduct compliance audits of licensee’s, periodically, to review and assess their compliance levels on a number of regulatory requirements; SIM card registration validation, Quality of networks, utilization of spectrum to mention but a few.

When it comes to SIM Card Registration, the regulator had a fruitful meeting with the CEOs and representatives of all Telecoms and agreed upon a number of issues. Below are the 8 directives given by the regulator to the telcos. The Commission, thus, directs;

1. That all non-registered and partially registered SIM cards on the various telecommunications networks MUST be deactivated by midnight on 29th March 2017.

2. That all pre-activated SIM Cards that are currently being sold on the market MUST be deactivated by midnight on 29th March 2017.

3. That all street vendors, currently selling pre-activated and non-registered SIM Cards, must stop selling the said SIM Cards by midnight on 29th March 2017.

4. With effect from 29th March 2017 at midnight, the only customer Identification documents that shall be valid for the purpose of SIM Card registration shall be the customer’s Ugandan National Identification Card or a valid Passport.

5. That with effect from midnight on 29th March 2017, no customer shall be allowed to register more than ten (10) SIM Cards on any individual telecommunications network.

6.That Telecommunications Operators shall be given the opportunity to discuss the challenges of SIM Card registration with key stakeholders like the Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Identity Registration Authority (NIRA), Uganda Police Force, Office of Prime Minister (Commissioner for Refugees) and/or United Nations High Commission for Refugees. A meeting with these stakeholders shall take place on Friday 31st March 2017 at UCC House Bugolobi at 9am.

7. That Telecommunications Operators will provide a clear methodology for deactivation of SIM Cards so as to appreciate the cost and challenges relating to the same.

8. That in light of the numerous challenges involved in the implementation of the Interception of Communications Act 2010, the telecommunications operators would draft proposals for amendments to the Interception of Communications Act.

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