Malawi: Airtel Malawi Risks Licence Suspension Over SIM Registration – Tnm Registers 75 Percent

Leading mobile telecommunications operator Airtel Malawi risks license suspension for failing to deactivate about one million unregistered numbers after the subscriber identity module (SIM) registration deadline, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has warned as rival TNM Plc has announced that it has registered 75 percent of its sim cards and deactivated unregistered numbers after the September 30 deadline.

According to the regulator, Airtel had unregistered numbers active after the deadline.

Macra deputy director for consumer affairs Thoko Chimbe warned that by failing to deactivate the unregistered numbers “Airtel has defied lawful orders and contravened the Communications Act.”

Chimbe, a lawyer and a member of Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Advisors Network (CyAN), said besides the alleged violation of the Act, the operator would also face a charge of unfair business conduct by continuing to generate revenue out of the unregistered numbers that were supposed to be disconnected.

She said Macra board will meet to discuss the Airtel violations and come up with punitive measures which may be leniently a fine and a warning or harshly a license suspension.

“This is the first of its kind for a service provider to make this serious violation. We have to listen to what they will say in defence and the gravity f the offence will determine the kind of punishment to apply,” said Chimbe.

Meanwhile, TNM’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Daniel Makata told a media conference that the operator is on course to achieve 100 percent compliance in on-going regulatory exercise.

“TNM is happy that it has managed to register 75 percent since the sim card registration rolled out following the directive from MACRA as provided for in the Communication Act No 34 of 2016. Section 92 which require that all subscribers of voice telephony services to register their sim cards with their respective service providers “said Makata.

Makata said all unregistered numbers were deactivated on October 1, 2018 as per the directive from the regulatory body but assured customers that the registration exercise is still in progress.

“TNM decision to bar unregistered subscribers was done to follow the law as directed by the regulator MACRA and in the best of Malawi as it enhances security. TNM would like to assure all customers whose numbers were barred on October 1, 2018 that they can register the same numbers at TNM shops and TNM SIM registration agents across the country and that their airtime and Mpamba balances will remain intact. All services and balances will be restored to their numbers once they have been registered,” he said.

For one to get sim card registered they need to present National Identity, Drivers licence, passport, refugee identity card or 2014 voters’ registration.