Eighty-seven per cent of the 6,415,443 SIM cards issued by the three telecom firms operating in the country had been registered by yesterday afternoon with only ten days left until the deadline, officials have said.
That means that as many as 833,883 SIM cards are yet to be registered.
The regulator, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura), is appealing to those who have not registered their numbers to do so or risk being switched off come July 31.
After that date all the unregistered SIM cards will be deactivated, Jean Baptist Mutabazi, the head of communication and media regulation at Rura, told The Sunday Times.
He ruled out the possibility of deadline extension.
“This process has been on for the last six months but it seems some people had not taken it seriously. Those who have not done so have just over a week to register their SIM cards” he said.
He said they were stepping up the campaign to sensitise members of the public to register their SIM cards.
Those that have been registered represent 87 per cent of both data (modems) and voice SIM cards, he explained.
Officials say the exercise is designed to help fight crimes that are committed using phones.
Mutabazi said all the new SIM cards are registered immediately after they are bought.
An airtime vendor in Kigali, Jean Dieu Habimana, said: “On average I register about five SIM cards a day”.
Rwanda was the remaining member of the East African Community that had not registered SIM cards. In the region, the registration process is conducted under framework of the East Africa Communications Organisation (EACO).
Subscribers can register as many SIM cards as they wish under their National Identification numbers (IDs). By dialling *125#, each subscriber can see the number(s) registered under their ID.
The three telecom firms MTN Rwanda, Tigo and Airtel regularly send text messages to their clients reminding them to register their numbers before the July 31 deadline.
Registering takes roughly two minutes, and you can do so at any agent of your mobile operator, including SIM card and airtime vendors.
All you need is a valid Identity Card to have your SIM card registered.
For minors with phones but without National IDs, the SIM cards are registered in their parents’ or guardians’ names. Minors who own phones without their parents’ or guardians’ consent will effectively be disconnected.
In case of companies, the legal representative of the entity is required to write an official letter to the respective telecom operators, indicating the names of the users, date of birth, ID numbers, associated telephone numbers and certificate of registration in case of private companies.
But companies may also choose to give the SIM cards to their staff to register for themselves.
There are online platforms provided by the telecom firms for the clients who are outside the country.
Non-residents with resident ID cards go through the same process as the citizens, while those without resident cards, the process will be done manually by scanning and restoring data.
The Sunday Times