Stricter SIM registration rules in the offing

December 11, 2013
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ICT Ministry Principal Secretary Joseph Tiampati said the move will help to completely do away with hawking of pre-activated SIM cards
ICT Ministry Principal Secretary Joseph Tiampati said the move will help to completely do away with hawking of pre-activated SIM cards

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – All agents and dealers selling mobile phone SIM cards will have to be officially licensed by the respective mobile operators once the revised Registration of Subscribers of Telecommunication Service Regulations are gazetted.

ICT Ministry Principal Secretary Joseph Tiampati said the move will help to completely do away with hawking of pre-activated SIM cards in the market by unscrupulous dealers.

The revised draft will also require the dealers to authenticate documents produced by subscribers, to avoid fake registration.

“Some of these dealers are the same used to register mobile money transfer services and they do it well. Why not get serious on selling registered SIMs? We have seen proper use of legal documents in other sectors like banks, so why not this one?” Consumer and Public Affairs Director at the Communications Commission of Kenya, Mutua Muthusi said during a stakeholders’ forum on the matter.

The revised regulations are currently going through final stakeholder consultations before being handed back to the Ministry of ICT and later gazetted before the end of this month.

“The regulations have given more responsibility on the part of the telco operators and their agents to ensure that somebody’s SIM card cannot be activated unless proper care has been done. We don’t want pre-activated SIMs in operation anymore,” the PS said while opening the forum.

Tiampati said the regulations want especially the dealers to be more responsible and easily monitored.

The mobile phone companies will be required to ensure more security and confidentiality of its subscribers’ registration details.

To register a minor, he or she will be required to be accompanied by a lawful guardian, possessing relevant identification documents.

Some of the documents that will be required in registration process will either be, the original Identity card, original and valid passport, original military identity card or original birth certificate.

“The registration process shall involve the recording of data by an agent, entering the verified registration particulars provided by an existing or new subscriber in an electronic or physical form and by keeping the registration particulars obtained in a secure and confidential manner,” a section of the draft states.

The Communications Commission of Kenya however says already registered customers will not be required to register again unless when there is doubt on their initial registration.

Mobile phone operators also shall grant the commission’s officers access to its systems, premises, facilities, files, records and other data to enable the commission carry out inspection for compliance.

“A person who contravenes these regulations shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh300,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both,” the draft says.

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