Algeria Cuts Off Millions of Unregistered SIM Cards
Algeria's mobile operators were ordered to shut down over three million SIM cards at the weekend following a deadline for the users to register their identity with the network operators. A security official told the Reuters news agency that several recent bombings had been traced to detonations by mobile phones using unregistered SIM cards.
Algeria's telecoms regulator, the Algerian Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPT) had ordered the clamp-down on the sale of mobile phone connections without proof of identity. Although official outlets still require ID, there has been a growing grey market where SIM cards are sold by street vendors and tobacconists who were more relaxed about complying with the regulations.
The deadline for all SIM cards to be registered was the end of April, but it had been extended to the end of last month at the request of the operators.
It had been reported that a raid by Algeria's security services of a terrorist camp had found a cache of hundreds of unregistered SIM cards waiting to be used.