Uganda: Sim Card registration deadline: Telecoms want more time


The clock is ticking to the deadline of the Sim Card registration exercise this week on Friday but telecoms companies still want more.
The companies, MTN, Orange, Airtel, Warid, K2 telecom and UTL were on March 1 granted a 180-day extension period to register all their subscribers, a period which has turned out inadequate, pushing them to demand for another grace period.
In different correspondences the companies unanimously noted that the remaining time was not relatively enough to have every Sim card to be registered; especially for subscribers in upcountry and hard-to reach districts.
Justina Ntabgoba, the MTN corporate affairs manager; which has the highest number of subscribers said they had close to 6.7 million active customers registered by the end of last month-which represents only 85% of the company’s customer base.
“We still have close to 15 percent of our customers yet to register,” Ms Ntabgoba said. She said the existing grace period enabled the company to reach its customers especially in remote areas.
Ms Ntagboba said there was some back log in terms of verification, an exercise that would be possible if the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) granted the telecoms another grace period .
Similarly, Ms Pheona Wall, the Airtel publicist concurred with Ms Ntagboba on the existence of setbacks.“Over 80 percent of our customers have been registered but given that the exercise is not being an easy one, we would require additional time if there is opportunity,” she said.
Orange –Uganda’s marketing and brand manager, Patience Tindyebwa noted that if granted an extension, it will be an added advantage.
“As Orange Uganda we have registered over 90 percent but it doesn’t mean everyone is registered,” Ms Tindyebwa said.
The Sim card registration process started in March 2012.
It’s not yet clear how unregistered Sim Cards would be switched off after the deadline with Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director insisting that time was running out for the telecom companies.