Unregistered SIM cards to be deactivated

Elizabeth Joseph
As of next January, every SIM card sold in Namibia will have to be registered. This after the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) launched a SIM card registration awareness campaign last week.

As of 1 January 2023, mobile operators will be required to register all SIM cards and obtain relevant customer information before their sale and activation.

Service providers will have a period of 12 months to conclude the registration of existing customers.

In a statement, CRAN confirmed that the mandatory registration of SIM cards is in line with international best practice, adding that 157 countries in the world currently implement it.

Mobile milestone

"Namibia is one of two African countries that does not have SIM registration and we are, therefore, delighted to finally reach this milestone.

“The six-month awareness campaign follows consultations between CRAN and all relevant stakeholders," the statement read.

Telecommunication service providers are obliged to register new customers’ information within three months from the date of sale.

During the launch ceremony, CRAN CEO Emilia Nghikembua said unregistered SIM cards will be deactivated.

"Mobile operators will be required to communicate to their existing customers the registration modalities, which may - in certain instances - include registration through online platforms.”

Crime prevention

Nghikembua said the use of mobile phones delivers significant economic and social benefits and plays a key role in enabling digital inclusion and delivering social benefits.

"There are, however, some members of the public who use mobile phones for criminal activities.

“Through the registration of all active SIM cards, security agencies will be able to track criminals after following procedures as set out in the applicable laws," she said.

CRAN is positive the national campaign will educate the public on the importance of SIM card registration and debunk misinformation.

"We invite the public to join and participate in our panel discussions, nationwide roadshow, social media, visual print, radio, audio-visual and via email inquiries and other activation components during the campaign", which will run from 7 June to 31 December.

Members of the public can submit queries via email to [email protected]