20% mobile phone users risk losing subscription
Mazen Mroue, MTN chief
With less than three days to the end of the sim card registration, about 20% of subscribers are yet to fully register their phone sim cards, information from telecoms indicates.
By Tuesday, industry regulator Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) met telecom operators to discuss the post May 31, 2013 deadline process. Fred Otunnu UCC communications manager explained that after the deadline, the operators will engage in the validation process of subscriber data for the next three months.
The validation process and period will also enable registration of new Sims to continue as well as registration of existing sims to continue for the next three months.”After that we switch off, this will take place after three months but during this time it will be validation, it is more less a cleanup process,” said Otunnu.
There are about 17 million mobile phone users, which means about 13.7 million Sims are registered todate.MTN Uganda yesterday said they have over 6.7 million active customers registered as of end of April, 2013 which is about 85% of the customer base with more than one million customers during the month of March alone.
“The grace period enabled us to reach our customers particularly those in the rural areas and other hard to reach areas. We still have close to 15% of our customers yet to register,” said Mazen Mroue, MTN chief.
He said the major glitch was the low public awareness about the SIM card registration which affected subscriber participation in the exercise. “Most subscribers do not have proper identification documents that meet the legal standards prescribed and as a result a large number of them cannot be registered,” said Mazen.
Fiona Wall, Airtel Uganda communications manager said Airtel has made major progress with the exercise especially with the extension guideline that nobody was allowed to get a new sim card without registering it. “We now have Warid onboard so we are still evaluating but the extension was very generous,” said Wall.
One of the challenge during this exercise that has been on for more than a year is instances where operators are charged exorbitant fees by the local and municipal authorities for setting up of registration centers in their areas which derailed the process.
On concerns that many subscribers registered but have not been verified till date, Mazen said the initial period of one year was focused on registering as many of the customers as possible as the company carried out a validation of the information although some back log existed.
Telecom operators have been enticing their subscribers with several offers to have them register and beat the May deadline.