The SIM card re-registration exercise is still going on. We have since detailed how users can ensure that their lines are properly documented, and this can be done via online portals provided by Telkom and Airtel Kenya, as well as Safaricom. Customers that use Faiba for 4G internet do not need to verify their details because the operator got a pass from the CA citing that their registration process was up to the provided guidelines.
Now, the state has published a draft regulation named The Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of Telecommunications Service Subscribers) Regulations, 2022. The draft law examines several elements of SIM card registration and overall guidelines for telcos and subscribers, including persons authorized to register, the limit on the number of SIM cards that a person should have, and general penalties for not following these rules.
Registering agents must be traceable
The law says that if you purchase a SIM card and register it, then the system should be able to identify which agent registered you. This has not been the case in previous or current registration exercises.
“A telecommunication operator issuing SIM cards shall, in addition to records (of its agents, and registered subscribers), keep records of (1) all SIM cards sold to the telecommunication operator’s agents; and (2) information on every registered SIM card to ensure that each registered SIM-card can be traced to the registering agent,” says the proposal.
SIM card registration requirement for children
We have since learned that Safaricom is prepping M-PESA Junior accounts for minors. However, what does the law say about giving children SIM cards and phones, and how should those lines be registered?
According to the proposal, a guardian or parent who intends to register a SIM card on behalf of a child shall provide both the guardian’s and child’s relevant identification particulars. Then, the guardian shall be registered as the subscriber of that particular SIM card until the minor attains the age of majority.
At the same time, the minor’s birth certificate number, name, and age will be recorded on the application form.
Once the minor attains the age of 18, he or she has 90 days to update the SIM card details with their official documents.
“The operator shall, upon the lapse of the ninety-day period, suspend SIM-cards of owners who were previously children but have attained the age of majority and have not updated their registration details,” adds the Regulations.
Limit on the number of SIM cards
Many Kenyans own multiple SIM cards for various reasons: all carriers have their perks: Safaricom has Safaricom and the best internet coverage in the country, but it is expensive for some. Airtel and Telkom Kenya, on the other hand, have mobile money products, but they are not widely used. Still, their data and voice products are affordable, especially for folks living in covered areas. Outside major towns, the two telcos have a knack for offering poor internet coverage.
To this end, it makes sense why people have several SIM cards. However, the proposal states that one person must not have more than 10 SIM cards registered under their name, save for those registered for a minor.
“Any telecommunication operator who contravenes this regulation commits an offense,” warns the law.
You can find more details about the Regulations here.