Tanzania: Tcra – Verify Your SIM-Card, or We Switch It Off By Jan 31st 2023

TANZANIA Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has given until January 31 next year all users of telecommunications services in the country to verify their active SIM cards.

According to the TCRA the active SIM cards should be verified by using the National Identification Number (NIN) .

The Director General of TCRA, Dr Jabiri Bakari, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that unverified active SIM cards will not be accessed after the deadline, because they will be barred from receiving or providing telecommunication services.

The main goal of the exercise according to the TCRA Chief is to deflect communication fraud and ensure user safety.

He emphasised that, every user of telecommunications services is required to verify his/her active phone number(s) using a citizenship ID or, alternatively, by using a NIDA provided National Identification Number-NIN, which can be obtained from the National Identification Authority-NIDA office.

“Apparently we’re running a significant public awareness campaign that aims at reducing the number of sim-cards registered by third parties,” he said.

He added that some telecommunication service users may have been misusing their sim-cards by exploiting a loophole that allows them to remain under the registration of third parties; therefore, “we want to ensure that all users are identified by their sim-cards, which are registered using their own national identification information and not others,” he pointed out.

Dr Jabiri noted that there could be unscrupulous users who engage themselves in unlawful and disagreeable activities using telecommunication services, adding that the current exercise aims to deter such perpetrators from disturbing the telecom usage ecosystem.

Equally, he added that the exercise intends to establish a more accurate database of valid active SIM cards in the country and enhance lawful ownership of sim-cards and well projected data of vivid telecommunication service users in the country which shall enhance reportage of communication sector performance.

“If everyone of us fully performs this sim-card verification exercise, we shall succeed in calming minor turbulences of the telecommunication service atmosphere, which are created by few unscrupulous users who misuse the communication space, hence it will be safer for each of us receiving services,” he further said.

On his part, TCRA Manager of Customers and Consumers Affairs, Mr Thadayo Ringo, reiterated that the verification process is simpler to be executed and completed by anyone owning and using a telecommunication device and services.

He said TCRA has assigned a special short code *106# used free of charge, adding: “Users will need to dial *106#, after which a service menu with options 1 through 5 will appear on their device screen. If they select option 3, they will be able to view quantity of phone numbers registered from all networks that are associated with their Nationality ID number. If the user discovers additional known or unknown mobile phone numbers associated with their NIDA identification number, they shall be necessitated to take action which may involve contacting the service provider; agent kiosks or nearby service shop to delete the unaccounted-for number(s).”

He said TCRA has observed that some users of mobile network services have avoided verifying their sim-cards for a variety of reasons, including avoiding to be identified by their original identity and detection of criminal acts they commit through telecommunication services, opting instead for a technique of purchasing sim-cards from law-breaking Mobile network operators agents, the sim-cards which could be used to commit unlawful acts.

The TCRA Officer insisted that the law requires all users of telecommunication services to have their sim-cards registered by using own National Identification should be followed and abided by. Additionally, secondary users who acquired sim-cards that are registered using identification data of third parties must re-register by changing identification information before the end of January next year or else service will be halted.

Early in November of this year, the communication regulator announced that 52,087 mobile phone numbers in total, including those linked to online crimes “Matapeli” carried out through mobile networks, had been blacklisted or phased out.

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