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SIM card registration PDF Print E-mail
National SIM card registration is scheduled to start in March 2012. Please read below to see more information from the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC):

Background
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is the regulatory body of the communications sector in Uganda. It was established by the Uganda Communications Act (Cap 106 Laws of Uganda) to facilitate and enable the development of a modern communications sector and infrastructure in Uganda.

The Commission implements the objectives of the Act, which includes the mandate to oversee the registration of all active mobile subscriptions in Uganda. UCC aims to ensure that all Ugandans should have their SIM card registered in the ongoing SIM card registration exercise across the country.

SIM is an abbreviation for Subscriber Identity Module. A SIM card is a valuable memory card, which stores all the information on your phone, like pictures, videos, and contact numbers – just to mention a few.

Aim of SIM card registration
SIM card registration is part of the Government of Uganda’s efforts to enhance security of lives and property of Ugandans. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides that the “prime duty of government is to serve and protect the People” and “the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and general welfare” are essential. Therefore, the State has the obligation and duty to protect the interests of those who are victims and potential victims of those who abuse the privilege of telecommunications.

Role of UCC
As a statutory body responsible for the development of a modern communications sector and infrastructure in Uganda, UCC is mandated to oversee the registration of all active mobile subscriptions in Uganda. Accordingly, UCC is undertaking drastic measures to protect the estimated 20 million Global System for Mobile (GSM) subscribers in Uganda by spearheading the commencement of SIM cards registration effective March 1, 2012.


Role of the Operators
All GSM (telecom) operators in Uganda are under obligation to register all SIM cards on their network. The operators are required to register details of any person purchasing a SIM card. They are obliged to ensure that the information collected from subscribers is kept secure, confidential and not tampered with. The information collected shall not be disclosed to any person unless as required by law. The information collected shall only be used for the purpose for which the registration exercise is being undertaken.

What the exercise entails
This registration exercise is simplified and will include the capture of the photograph and biometrics of the subscriber – fingerprints and digital photograph. Some of the personal information to be provided by a subscriber are e-passports, corporate/company or workplace identity cards that have pension identification/tax numbers, student ID cards from recognised institutions, driver’s licence and e-tax cards.

Proxy registration shall be restricted to the direct families of persons seeking registration. In the case of existing SIM card holders, necessary processes and procedures are currently being put in place to guarantee a smooth registration exercise. The general public and all relevant stakeholders will be notified in due course about the timing and how to proceed.

Duration
With effect from March 1, 2012 all new and existing mobile phone numbers will have to be registered to be activated on a mobile network in Uganda. The deadline (cut-off date) for SIM card registration for existing mobile subscribers is March 1, 2013. From this date onwards, no SIM card will be issued by the operators without it being registered. So, even, if you buy a SIM card today and it is not registered, at some point it must be registered or it will cease to work.

Please, note that there shall be no more sales of new SIM cards in public places, except in designated areas. From now onwards ensure that when you purchase a new SIM card, your fingerprint and photograph are captured at the shop to register your line.

Status in East Africa
SIM card registration in Uganda is part of the regional exercise. Under the umbrella body called the East Africa Communications Organisation (EACO), the in East Africa region set mid 2012 as the deadline to have all existing SIM cards registered. In Kenya and Tanzania at least 80% of SIM cards in each country have been registered.

Importance of SIM card registration
SIM card registration aims to ensure all subscribers are registered in the move aimed at fighting crime in Uganda. Given the fact that Uganda still lacks an effective Identity Management System, or a national identity database of its citizens, this exercise is necessary to prevent the harassment many Ugandans go through in the hands of people using mobile phones to perpetrate crime.

As technology becomes a necessity in our every day transactions – mobile money, banking and utility bills payment as well as communication, the exposure to ICT based crimes is on the rise. Cellphones and their SIM cards are not just a means of communication; it has also become a tool to perpetrate crime.

It is the anonymous nature of the unregistered SIM card that kidnappers are able to ply their trade. It is how extortionists are able to get away with their deed. Text scams flourish in such an environment. Terrorists, insurgents and enemies of the state and society hide behind untraceable numbers. Rumour mongers use it to sow confusion, spread malicious information or start hoaxes.

On the other hand, SIM card registration promotes user accountability, since telecom companies keep details about all users.  It also promotes national security and social order, in addition to making it easier to enforce existing legislation. When you receive a threatening call from an unknown source, the first step is to report to Police. A case file is opened after taking your statement as a complainant.  An investigation with the objective of identifying the caller gets underway.

Usually the basic procedure is for the investigating officer to apply for a court order, which is presented to the respective telecom company for a printout of the phone call logs (list of all incoming and outgoing calls) on your mobile number. The suspect (anonymous caller) can then be traced to a particular location from which the call was made by the help of the originating mast’s (cell) physical location.  

A call log printout from a telecom company’s switch shows a list of all incoming and outgoing calls regardless of whether the caller hid their identity or not. Once the ‘hidden’ number is displayed on the log, another printout of that number may be made to identify the calling pattern or the most incoming or outgoing calls on it. Thereafter, the identity of the caller can be ascertained from their friends or relatives or the most called numbers.

Appeal
Do not wait for the habitual last minute rush! The only person who should be afraid of SIM registration, naturally, is the criminally-minded who knows that their days are numbered after all existing SIM Cards are registered. Therefore, join the winning team by registering your SIM at the nearest registration centre.  For a document on the Frequently Asked Questions about the SIM card registration, please click here or send us an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
 
 
 

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