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Wednesday, Oct 16th

Unregistered SIM card deactivation underway in Uganda

Unregistered SIM card deactivation underway in Uganda

Uganda has officially begun the process of deactivating unregistered SIM cards after the government had given local users until 30 August to register their lines.

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi said the switch-off would involve barring all incoming and outgoing calls and SMS' as well as all data services and mobile money deposits, leaving only the ability to withdraw mobile money.

"The switch-off will also involve enabling calls for only emergency services, calls to customer service lines of the applicable mobile network operators and access to short codes 197 and 216," said Mutabazi.

While Mutabazi did not reveal the total number of lines that have thusfar been disconnected, according to data released by the country's National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) approximately 32 million lines were forwarded by telecom companies (including MTN-Uganda, Airtel, Africel, K2 telecom, Vodafone, Uganda Telecom Limited-UTL, Smile Telecom, Smart Telecom and Tangerine) for verification.

NIRA said 26.6 million lines had been duly registered, with inconsistencies identified in 4.6 million lines and 36,556 lines classified as 'corrupt'.

Across the networks, MTN has the highest number of unverified lines with 2.5 million lines questioned out of a total of 16.9 million subscribers active on the network. Airtel on the other hand is yet to verify the details of about 941,000 lines out of a total of 11 million subscribers, while 3 million subscriber-strong Africell has 542,111 unverified lines identified on its network.

MTN Uganda's corporate affairs' manager Justina Ntabgoba-Kayemba said the company will be able to issue a statement later this week. Airtel's Public Relations Manager, Faith Bagonza, gave similar comment.

While affirming that the deactivation process is underway, several local media platforms reported that some unregistered lines were still active as at Monday.

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