With the growing sim card related fraud, Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (RURA) has issued new directives on SIM-card registration regulations.
A communication via a Text message from Rura last year says “Be informed that effective 31st Jan 2019 you will only be allowed to have three SIMs registered on your National ID, foreigners with other Doc can have only one SIM.”
However, days later the regulator clarified on the issue saying, beginning January 31, 2019, nationals will be allowed a maximum of three sim-cards on each network bringing the maximum one can hold to six—three on MTN and three on Airtel. Foreign passport holders will only be allowed one sim card on each network.
The changes in sim-card ownership regulations will, among other things, improve digital identities via sim-cards, RURA says.
The move will also exempt corporates and businesses who would like to have multiple sim-cards for their operations and employees.
Applications for exemptions will be reviewed by RURA on a case by case basis but can be made through the respective telcos. The two telecom companies; MTN and AirtelTigo have in recent months witnessed multiple forms of fraud.
Indeed MTN, admitted losing millions fraudsters.
During an operation by Rwanda National Police last year, thousands of sim cards used to route international calls were recovered and equipment confiscated.
Rura also cites incidences where agents of the various telecom companies register users without an identification document, leaving room for identity theft.
With telecoms using thousands of agents around the country to handle the services, some agents are less strict on sim card registration requirements, probably due to the commission they earn for new subscribers.
The regulations provide that any activation of a sim card shall be subject to the registration of personal information of the individual subscriber wishing to use that sim card.
Telecom companies have embraced the move, saying that it will help curb fraud and identity theft cases which have been harmful to their business.
Using other persons to register a line is also illegal; the regulator says, it was planning a system audit to ascertain whether or not the data given by mobile operators on the listing of SIM cards is true.
Operators or their agents are required to register SIM cards, capturing the full identity of owners before activating their lines. Unregistered cards are misused to perpetuate crime, including money laundering, kidnapping, malicious calls, cybercrime and mobile money fraud.
Governments in East Africa have intensified and enhanced rules and fines for use of unregistered sim cards saying criminals use unregistered SIM cards to perpetuate crime.
Rwanda’s telecommunications industry registered growth in the third quarter, with figures showing an increase in subscription, penetration and mobile money usage.
Data released by Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) indicates that Mobile phone subscriptions reached 9,665,544 in October last year compared to 9,321,347 as of end of July from 9,226,721 at the end of June. According to RURA, mobile-cellular telephone penetration rate hit 81.8 per cent compared to 76.6 per cent per cent previously.
However RURA report showed a decline and increase in the trend of active mobile telephone subscriptions. AirtelTigo is the market leaders with 5.1 million subscribers while MTN Rwanda trails with 3.5 million subscribers.
Do you have a story in your community or an opinion to share with us: Email us at email@example.com