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Time running out for Ghana SIM reg

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

Only two weeks remain before the cut-off deadline for the registration of Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) cards in Ghana.

The Director-General of the National Communication Authority (NCA, Paarock Vanpercy, has called on mobile phone subscribers who have not yet register their SIM cards or have invalid registration to register their SIM cards before the deadline, to save their SIMs from being deactivated by the various network operators in the country. According to the national regulator there will be no extension of the deadline for the registration of Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) cards after March 3, 2012.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra,  Vanpercy said with the adoption of the Subscribers Identification Module Regulations, 2011(L.I. 2006), the NCA would have to, by law, enforce the provisions accordingly. He said those who are unsure of their registration status can text 400 to their networks for verification. Giving official statistics on the number of subscribers registered since last year, the NCA boss noted that about 21 million subscribers in the country had been able to register their SIMs.

He said the move by NCA to see the registration through was not a punitive measure but meant to ensure that the provisions under the law were met. He said that the registration of the SIMs was coming with benefits, including crime control and the ability to effectively go through the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) process, whereby a user can switch from one network to another without losing his or her original numbers.

On February 1, 2012, Ghana’s parliament adopted the SIM Regulation, 2011(L.I 2006) to give backing to SIM card registration in the country. The legislation provides that from March 3, 2012, no SIM card can be used if it is not registered. Consequently, no mobile network operator shall be able to activate a SIM card for a new customer without it having registered.

Also existing subscribers who have either not registered their SIM cards or whose earlier registration is invalid are required to re-register, failure to do so will amount to the deactivation of ones SIM card without any prior notice.

Network operators are also required to adhere strictly to this directives in terms of deactivating a customer or subscribers whose SIM card has not being registered, failure on the part of the operator to deactivate a subscriber would require the application of sanctions per the law, including the sanctions spelt out under the license for the operators.

Subscribers are required to have valid passport, driving licenses, voter identity cards, National Identification cards and National Health Insurance cards to enable them to under take a valid registration.

The Director-General advised that those who did not have these forms of identity cards could request parents or relatives to register on their behalf until they acquired theirs. He said the idea behind such a move was to ensure that there was somebody who could guarantee for those who did not have IDs and encouraged all to have their own IDs to be able to take full responsibility for their SIMs.

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