Rwanda has reviewed its SIM card registration process in a bid to curtail rampant mobile fraud.
The Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA) said anyone who wants a new SIM card or wants to complete a SIM swap will now have to go to their respective service providers’ service centres, agent shops or kiosks.
All telecommunications operators are expected to adhere to the new procedure going forward.
Charles Gahungu, general manager ICT Regulation Department at RURA said the new procedure will enhance SIM card security because it is based on identity verifications, including photographs of the SIM card holder.
He said service providers must confirm that the national identity presented corresponds with data within the National Identification Agency database.
Additionally, service providers will have to match images from the Agency’s database with the subscriber making the application to verify ownership.
Gahungu said the new procedure makes it easier for RURA to track SIM card owners and address fraud. “Literally, SIM cards were being registered only by checking if the identity card number exists, where the agents were able to activate the SIM cards as long as they had an identity number. This resulted in people having SIM cards registered on their identity cards without their knowledge.”
RURA director general Dr Ernest Nsabimana said all subscribers should carry out regular checks of SIM card registered on their identity cards by dialing *125# in order to verify SIM cards registered under their names and to self-deregister any unrecognised SIM cards.
MTN Rwandacell said the new process enhances security around SIM cards to curb incidents of SIM related frauds and provide customers with confidence that no activity will occur in relation to their SIM cards without multiple layers of identification validation.