SIM Card Registration is defined as the process of recording and verifying the personal details of a subscriber by a GSM service provider. The said details normally include the phone number(s), name, date of birth, gender, address (postal or physical address), alternative telephone contacts if available and the identification document and number of the identification document presented.
SIM Card Registration is traditionally voluntary until a deadline is set by the Authority from which point it becomes mandatory. The SIM Card of any subscriber who fails to register by the set deadline is disconnected and deactivated by the GSM operator and the subscriber loses their number.
This exercise is aimed primarily to the reduction of mobile phone related crime such as money laundering, cyber terrorism, prank calls and other such crimes. In addition, this exercise enables government to monitor and verify the actual tele-density figures and active lines in the industry thus ensuring that the tax revenue from mobile services correlate with the data presented by the GSM operators.
SIM Card Registration is currently under way in Ghana, Sierra Leone Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Singapore, Malaysia, Geneva, India, Egypt and various other countries.
LEGAL MANDATE IN THE GAMBIA
In order to ensure that a project of such nature is successful and not challenged by the parties affected it is fundamental that a legal framework be established to support it. A legal framework further contributes to the transparency of the entire process.
The Information and Communications Act 2009 (IC Act) contained provisions for the registration of SIM Cards, specifically section 144 which states that:
Further, section 32(o) of the Information and Communication Act provides that the Licence of the service provides shall contain “conditions relating to the registration of Subscriber Identity Cards by service providers.”
Thus the requisite legal mandate with regards to SIM card registration has been established and included into the regulatory framework including the licensing framework.
PURA in consultation with stakeholders had determined that January 15th 2012 would be the mandatory date for the registration of old SIM cards. In order to ensure an effective and successful implementation phase, an extensive sensitisation plan was effected.