Zambia SIM reg starts on a low note

GOVERNMENT

-
Image: By ZICTA
Zambia SIM reg starts on a low note

By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia

Like many other countries in the region and around the world, Zambia has commenced mobile phones SIM card registration with the aim of combating crime and fraud with the use of mobile phones.

The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), the country’s telecoms sector regulator, embarked on the SIM registration exercise to enhance security in the telecom sector and to protect subscribers from criminal activities.

However, the exercise has commenced in the capital Lusaka on a very slow note, reflecting what may also be happening in other towns across the country.

A survey conducted by Biztechafrica on Thursday around Lusaka revealed that although the exercise has commenced, very few subscribers are taking time to have their cards registered in designated outlets. Records seen at MTN outlets also show that only few people have far registered their SIM cards.

SIM card registration, ZICTA believes will make it easier mobile operators to track the SIM card if stolen or lost and to track down those using mobile phones to commit crime as all personal details including residential address are provided during the registration.

Biztechafrica visited almost all the designated outlets in Lusaka and found only a few people registering their SIM cards. If what was seen Thursday is something to go by, then the exercise is headed for failure or may take the whole year to be completed. This may explain why ZICTA has not announced the deadline for the exercise.

So, what has gone wrong with the exercise?

There are two answers to that question that are clearly written on the wall for everyone to see and read.

First, ZICTA did less campaigning, if any, to educate subscribers on the importance of SIM card registration, resulting in the misinformed view of the whole exercise.

Kalasawa Banda, a Lusaka resident who is on the Airtel network, told Biztechafrica in an interview why he and many others are not interested in registering their SIM cards: “This government wants to be tracking down and punishing those that speak against it. Why are they interested in knowing our residential addresses and National Registration Card (NRC) number?”

He added: “It has never happened in the history of this country except under the current government.”

Even the elite in the opposition political parties think the ruling party, the Patriotic Front (PF), is up to no good with the registration exercise.

Charles Milupi, the president of the opposition Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD), said the registration of SIM cards was a “way of using registration details to pursue political opponents.”

Second, the country’s three mobile operators - MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel - have not made rigorous efforts to inform subscribers about the outlets where the registration is done.

The author of this article subscribes with MTN and Zamtel and can confirm that the two operators have never contacted their subscribers to let them know about the exercise and why the exercise is being carried out.

However, the PF government said it has only been in the office for a year and found the process that was initiated by the previous administration-the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) that ruled the country for 20 years.

“It is malicious for Milupi to claim that the PF government has introduced mobile SIM card registration so as to capture information about opponents and use it to silence or intimidate them,” said Chanda Mfula, Media and Publicity director of the PF party.

Chanda said consultations on SIM registration date back to the time the MMD was in government and Milupi himself was in parliament.

On the afternoon of 18 November 2010, Chanda said the former Minister of Communications and Transport in the MMD government, Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa delivered a ministerial statement in Parliament on “Infrastructure Development and Policy Interventions to Grow the Communications Industry”, in which he announced government’s intentions to introduce SIM card registration to enhance the security of the mobile phone GSM technology systems.

However, the debate as to why Zambia has joined other countries in registering SIM cards still rages on and many subscribers are holding on to their personal details for fear they may be victimised.

It remains to be seen, however, how ZICTA will handle the situation and whether or not the exercise will be a success.


A look at Zambia's SIM registration goals.


Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

Private sector investment key to continent’s development, says Kaberuka

African Development Bank support for private equity investment in Africa recorded a major success this week, when The Carlyle Group announced it had raised $698 million for its new Sub-Saharan Africa Fund. Read More

Ghana’s ‘big bang’ approach tackles data penetration

With 110% voice penetration, full data penetration is the next big target in Ghana, says the NCA. Read More

Kenya unveils ICT master plan

Kenya has launched the national Information, Communication Technology Master Plan 2017 to spur economic growth in the country. Read More

Botswana to enhance education through Thutonet

Launching the Thutonet Governance Structure, Secretary of Education Reforms, Taboka Nkhwa, said for Botswana to make any appreciable progress in its socio-economic development efforts, substantial resources should be directed at improving educational delivery. Read More

Kenya to digitally register all citizens afresh

Kenya plans to digitally register all citizens as part of national planning and the war against terrorism. Read More

Botswana passes electronic transaction, communications bill

The Botswana Parliament has passed the Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill, which gives legal recognition to electronic transactions. Read More

Angola stimulates ICT innovation in government

The Angolan Government is seeking to boost the use of ICTs in public service administration and service delivery through its ‘Innovate’ programme for the public sector. Read More

Kenyan Deputy President takes to Twitter

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto took to Twitter today, to interact with Kenyans on the platform for the first time. Read More

Nigeria, China sign power MoU

A consortium of companies in Nigeria and a Group of top-rate Chinese investors have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on power plant projects, including the assembling and manufacturing of pre-paid power meters.  Read More

Cofek challenges Kyalo appointment

Cofek has challenged the appointment of the Information, Communication and Technology Authority Chief Executive, Mr Victor Kyalo. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN Business

FEATURED STORY

Kenyan shift to Green Economy would generate USD 45bn by 2030 Kenyan shift to Green Economy would generate USD 45bn by 2030

Kenya’s transition to a green economy could produce major economic benefits  equivalent to an estimated USD 45 billion by 2030, a new  study shows.

IN DEPTH

E-waste threatens Ghana’s beachesE-waste threatens Ghana’s beaches

Many beaches in Ghana, already stressed by pollution and poor maintenance, are now facing a new threat: e-waste.