February 21, 2011

Most Parliamentarians are yet to register their SIM cards almost one year after the National Communication Authority made it mandatory for all to do so by June this year.

Information available to Adom News says an exercise to that effect was started last week but was suspended owing to the state of the Nation Address on Thursday February 17 but will continue this week.

A highly placed source at the National Communication Authority (NCA) said telecom operators have reported between 75 per cent and 90 per cent registered SIM cards between June 2010 and now.

The source fell short of mentioning the specific numbers or percentages that each operator reported saying that the NCA was yet to verify the figures and come out with actual numbers of valid SIM cards registered by each operator.

The verification would involve cross checking records of individual SIM card owners against the ID type they used in registering the SIM card.

“We will go to the respective institutions and verify the records of those who used their passports, drivers’ licenses, National Health Insurance card and Voters ID to register their SIM cards” the source said.

The source noted that there was a possibility that some records may not be check with the ID of the SIM card owners and that would mean that SIM card would be considered unregistered, even though telecom network may have counted it as registered.

Last year, almost all the operators posted lower subscriber-base than they expected and they blamed it on customers’ lackadaisical attitude towards SIM card registration.

Meanwhile, all the telecom operators have been instructed by the NCA to keep the provisional figures under wraps pending the verification slated for next month, March 2011.

But some of the telecom operators said most of the SIM cards registered are mainly from the rural communities and northern part of the country, and that most residents of Greater-Accra, Central, Volta and Western regions are still not registered.

“We want to take advantage of the debate of the Presidential State of the Nation Address in Parliament to register the MPs, since there is usually a full house during these kinds of debates,” they said.
The CEO of Tigo Ghana, Carlos Caceres had told Adom News that he expected a mass rush for SIM card registrations from next month, particularly in the southern sector of the country.

Vodafone Ghana CEO, Kyle Whitehall had also expressed similar sentiments in a chat with journalists.

Whiles some the telecom operators say they are confident that by the June 31, 2011 deadline, they would have registered all their customers, some expressed doubts about meeting the deadline.

Meanwhile the NCA has not given any indication of plans to extend the deadline, which means anyone whose SIM card is not registered by June 31, 2011 would lose his mobile phone number and all information on it for good.

Network operators have therefore been using separate interactions with the media to urge their customers to get their SIM cards registered and avoid losing their phone numbers and vital information.

Source: Adom News