Vodacom Tanzania has announced that 157,000 of its customers have been barred from accessing services after failing to register their SIM cards biometrically.
This follows an order from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to all operators to switch off non-biometrically registered phone lines as of 20 January 2020.
In early January 2020 Tanzania’s president John Magufuli confirmed the extension of the original deadline for biometric SIM card registration of 31 December 2019 to 20 January 2020.
At the time of the announcement, media reports indicated that over 21 million SIM cards still had to be registered.
In a statement issued by the company, Managing Director Hisham Hendi said only those customers that have received NINs from NIDA but have failed to register their lines ahead of the said deadline have been affected.
“Given that the exercise to biometrically register one’s SIM card is an ongoing one, those customers without NINs should visit a NIDA office close to them in order to get one and eventually biometrically register their SIM cards at any of our service points to avoid any inconveniences.”
Hendi added that the exercise will help in reducing the number of fraudsters. “Using unique fingerprints will ensure that everyone is known, thus making it easier to combat conmen in our community.”
Director for Customer Services, Harriet Lwakatare said “Customers can dial *152*00# or send messages to short code number 15096 to check for their NINs before approaching Vodacom for biometric registration. For those who have been barred or (in the near future) be affected by this ongoing exercise, they should not worry about the content on their SIM cards as they will be intact for a period of 6 months until they are biometrically registered.”
‘Barred customers can access our digital channels and various self-help channels for more information on how to progress their registration status,” said Lwakatare.