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ZICTA to deactivate ‘inaccurately, incompletely registered’ SIM cards

THE Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority says all SIM cards inaccurately and/or incompletely registered with mandatory fields missing are to be deactivated by December 31. ZICTA acting corporate communications manager Edward Mulenga stated that on May 10, the Authority issued SIM Registration Directives to Mobile Network Operators with the view of reinforcing security in the ICT sector as well as promoting compliance to Sl No. 65 of 2011.

“To this effect, a meeting was held with the Mobile Network Operators on May 21, 2019 to further expound the directives with regards to measures aimed at sanitising the Mobile Subscriber Information Registration,” he said.

Mulenga said nine directives were issued to mobile network operators with respective implementation deadlines. He said the mobile network operators should amend records in the SIM registration database for citizens, refugees and foreigners.

“For Citizens: Ensure only NRC number is keyed; (ll) Only capture images of Passport or NRC. For Refugees and Foreigners: Only capture ID image and key in Alien Number or Passport Number. Deadline for implementation for new SIM card registrations or SIM replacements, measures are with immediate effect, while for historical registration, the database clean-up of subscribers with a wrong identity card used has to be corrected by December 31, 2019,” he said.

Mulenga said mobile network operators should ensure that all foreigners are registered using among others, inviting entity, lodging address and/or employers; have their SIM activated for only 90 days (regardless of usage) unless they provide proof of longer stay in which they would qualify for more than 90-day usage activation and have a mandatory entry in the national field of the SIM registration database.

He said deadline for implementation was June 30. Mulenga said all Mobile Network Operators were required to capture live facial photographs during new SIM card registrations and SIM card replacement effective August 31. He said all Mobile Network Operators were required to start biometric capture registration by January 1, 2020.

Mulenga said the Mobile Network Operators shall comply with the biometric standards as to be soon prescribed by the Authority. He said Mobile Network Operators were required to submit weekly reports of all SIM replacements to the authority. Mulenga said the measure would assist the authority in proactively monitoring SIM replacement processes to address high incidents of fraudulent activities related to SIM replacements. He said this was with immediate effect.

Mulenga said Mobile Network Operators were directed to conduct regular internal verification exercises to ensure accuracy of SIM database and furnish the authority with a report of all deregistered SIM cards.

“All Mobile Network Operators are directed to deactivate SIMS whose records lack identity card numbers by June 30, 2019. Mobile Network Operators are directed to urgently correct/complete all other mandatory fields such as address (which should be more than just town e.g. township or landmark – hospital, clinic, police, government office (etc) by December 31, 2019. All SIM cards inaccurately and/or incompletely registered with mandatory fields missing are to be deactivated by December 31, 2019,” Mulenga said.

“All Mobile Network Operators are to deactivate pre-registered SIM cards on their networks with immediate effect. Any SIM card not properly registered in conformity with Sl 65 of 2011 is to be deactivated.”

He said Mobile Network Operators are directed to identify and report the total number of subscribers with more than 10 registered MSlSDNs under the same identity card.

“The report should include: Count, Usage (service), list of MSISDNs, Client type (Individual or Corporate). Immediately deactivate any unverified number or number deemed to be fraudulently in use. Deadline for implementation. The effective date is June 7, 2019,” Mulenga said.

Mulenga said Mobile Network Operators are to establish a mechanism where subscribers can use short code 101 to verify the number of SIM cards registered under their NRC. He said for SIM replacements any other major changes, the mobile network operators are directed to send notifications to the primary number of the subscriber.

Mulenga said the deadline for implementation is June 30. He said all SIM card registration agents/dealers will be required to obtain dealers certificate from the authority in order to be authorised to register SIM cards by June 30.

“The authority will place obligations on the seller of SIM cards including use of identity cards for ease of identity. Dealers’ certificate will be renewable. Failure to adhere to obligations will attract punitive measures. Registration of agents/dealers shall be done at no cost. Mobile network operators should send an updated dealers’ register to the authority with immediate effect and a report on the agents responsible for any inaccurate registrations and any fraudulent activity,” he said.

Mulenga said when opening mobile money accounts, mobile network operators are directed to use live facial photographs of subscribers, an updated identity card as well as the physical address of the subscribers.

He said deadline for implementation is August 31.

“Failure to adhere to timelines will attract punitive measures within the law. Members of the general public with missing or incorrect details will be contacted and requested to correct their details, and anyone who will not comply risks having their SIM cards deregistered,” said Mulenga.

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