Only half of Zambia’s SIMs registered

By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia

The Zambian government has revealed that only half the number of the country’s mobile phone subscribers have registered their SIM cards.

The deputy minister of Communications and Transport, Col. Panji Kaunda, said at a media briefing that Zambia has a total of 10, 343, 527 subscribers but that only 5, 360, 093 SIM cards were registered as December 16, 2013.

This means that if Zambia sticks to the December deadline, some five million SIM cards will be de-activated and this will definitely affect mobile operator’s profit margins.

Zambia through the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has set December 31, 2013 as the deadline for SIM card registration.

Kaunda said the Zambian government has already agreed with the three mobile phone service provider-MTN, Airtel and Zamtel that subscribers who will not have registered their SIM by the December deadline will have certain mobile services suspended until they register.

He said the suspension might include not being able to make calls.

“This will continue until February 2014 when the unregistered SIM cards will totally be disconnected,” Kaunda said.

Kaunda further said the Zambian government has no intention of extending the SIM registration deadline when it expires this month. He explained that SIM card registration is for the benefit of subscribers as this will help them in tracking down their devices in the event they lose them.

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