Uganda calls for test call blocking ahead of SIM Card deadline

iPhone SIM card UgandaMTN Uganda, Airtel-Warid, Orange and Uganda Telecom have been told to warn customers ahead of the potential deactivation of their SIM Cards. (Image source: Luke2511/Wikimedia Commons)The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has directed telecommunications companies operating in the country to start call-blocking testing ahead of the 31 August 2013 deadline for the official deactivating of all unregistered SIM Cards

Companies including MTN Uganda, Airtel-Warid, Orange and Uganda Telecom will have to start warning unregistered customers through call blocking and sending alerts.

A top official of UCC, Patrick Mwesigwa, said they had given the telecoms companies the directive in the final phase of concluding the SIM Card registration.

"As a country we are implementing a law on communication that was agreed upon jointly by East African countries and we must be serious this time to switch off by 31 August," Mwesigwa warned.

The registration exercise started in March last year, but has been extended twice as it has been marred with many problems, while many people in the rural areas had not yet registered and companies feared they would not meet the deadline set by the UCC.

The regulatory body estimated that out of the 16 million subscriber base in the country, only 13.5 million have registered, leaving close to two million customers at risk of being deactivated.

The Commission said, "the failure to register is a breach of the law and service providers shall not provide any communication service to a person who fails or refuses to register their SIM Card shall be deactivated and will not be able to make or receive calls. The enabling law is the registration of Interception of Communication Act 2010."

Geoffrey Muleme

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