The rise of use of telecommunication technologies has caught governments offside when it comes to regulations. One of them has been regarding SIM card ownership. We have multiple carriers and a lot of people don’t only own one SIM card.
However, such practices has led to some people conducting fraud using their multiple SIM cards. This has led to governments doing such activities like the one being done by Tanzania.
According to The East African, Tanzania is planning to limit the number of SIM cards an individual can own. They want a person to only own a single line per network in a bid to ‘boost security and tame cyber-crime.”
In order to effectively do this, this would involve a fresh biometric registration of all SIM card holders from May 1st to September.
“The information obtained from registered SIM cards will be directly linked to a subscriber’s national identification card ensuring there is no more misinformation or forgery of documents; no one can forge fingerprints,” Semu Mwakyanjala, acting corporate communication manager at Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority was quoted as saying.
However if a subscriber wants to own multiple numbers from different networks, they would need to apply in writing to the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority.
This directive by the Tanzanian regulator is starkly similar to what Rwanda did at the beginning of this year. The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority issued a directive where a subscriber can only have a maximum of 3 SIM cards per national ID per operator. In Kenya, the CAK issued a directive to operators to switch off SIM cards that were registered incorrectly.