Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority to Switch Off 15m SIM Cards

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The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) says it will disconnect a total of 19 million subscriber identification module (Sim) cards whose owners are yet to register them via the biometric system.

The regulator reiterated it will also take to task those who would use their National Identification Numbers (NINs) to register Sim cards for other people.

The measure will include all Sim cards whose owners have not yet applied for the biometric registration as required by the law.

Registration of Sim cards using the biometric system was earlier meant to be completed by December 31, 2019 but on December 27 President John Magufuli extended the deadline by 20 days.

TCRA’s statistics shows that there are over 48.8 million active Sim cards in the country.

However, by January 19, only a total of 28,433,491 (28.4 million) Sim cards had been registered using the new system. TCRA then announced that it would switch off the Sim cards in phases.

Recntly, TCRA said that between January 20 and January 26, it had switched off 3.7 million Sim cards.

“So, recently we started the next phase of switching off Sim cards amounting to 15,282,410 (15.3 million) and we expect to complete the exercise by January 31.

“We urge those who have not registered using the new system to do so and if you want to register a Sim card for the use of your son/daughter or relative, you have to follow the laid down procedures,” insisted TCRA.

According to TCRA’s communication head Frederick Ntobi, the number of registered Sim cards until January 27 stood at 30.03 million.

Sim card registration using the biometric system started on May 1, 2019. Some 900,000 Sim cards were immediately switched off after the January 20 deadline. Number of Tanzanians going to Nida offices to collect their NINs or national IDs has gone down drastically.

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