ZICTA implements SIM switch off

By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia

The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has implemented a SIM card switch off after the expiry on the January 31, 2014 deadline for registration.

Several people that had not registered their SIM cards have confirmed that they are unable to communicate using their unregistered SIM cards.

The regulator had warned that it would deactivate unregistered SIM cards by midnight on January 31.

Muyunda Liswaniso, a subscriber with the Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) said his SIM stopped working after midnight on January 31.

“I can’t call using my Zamtel number and when I dial the number *101# set by ZICTA to check the status of my SIM I’m told it is deactivated because I did not register,” said Liswaniso.

Many other people from different networks have also complained that they have been cut off because they did not register their SIM cards.

ZICTA has not said how many people have been affected by the switch-off. But a survey conducted by Biztechafrica on January 31 around the capital Lusaka in the afternoon showed that long queues were forming on registration centres, suggesting that many subscribers failed to beat the deadline and are therefore disconnected.

ZICTA said previous that it would give the affected subscribers at least a month to register their SIM cards before completely cutting them off adding that during this period, the subscribers would not be able to communicate and send SMS using the affected SIM cards.

ZICTA had set December 31, 2013 as the deadline for SIM card registration exercise but it later extended the period by one month after discovering that so many people had not registered their SIM cards.

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