Mozambique’s communications industry regulator, Instituto Nacional das Communicações de Moçambique (ARECOM) has given the country’s three mobile phone operators ten days to address the issue of unregistered SIM cards or face sanctions.
The regulator has accused Movitel, mCel and Vodacom of violating government regulation pertaining to SIM card registration, introduced in 2015.
Edmundo Manhica, spokesperson of the National Communications Institute of Mozambique (INCM) said there are still “a number of unregistered SIM cards” in use in the country.
Manhica said mobile phone users have a legal duty to register their SIM cards and to notify authorities on any irregularities committed by mobile phone operators.
He was quoted by the local television station STV as saying, “Recently, Arecom has been receiving denunciations of the existence of unregistered SIM cards or cards with irregular registrations.”
Massingue Apala, director of postal and telecommunications services at INCM, has previously claimed that the objective of registering SIM cards is to promote the responsible use of telephones and guarantee the protection of citizens.
Local authorities continue to claim that criminals involved in the wave of kidnappings in the country since 2011 use unregistered SIM cards and cards with irregular registrations to contact their victims’ families and demand ransom.
ITWeb Africa contacted Movitel, mCel and Vodacom for their response to the ARECOM ultimatum, but has not yet received any official comment or feedback.
According to the country’s law, an operator found liable of deliberately failing to register their clients could face a fine of US$120,000.