KAMPALA – The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has asked all the telecom companies to verify the identities of their subscribers who have multiple Sim cards after numerous cases of fraud.
Mr. Bbossa said that all telecom companies should put in place mechanisms to closely monitor the registration of Sim cards so as to protect customers’ data from being misused.
In a recent interview with NBS Television on Thursday, January 16, Mr. Ibrahim Bbossa, Head of Public Relations and International Relations at UCC said the commission accepted that there many incidents of unlawful multiple Simcard registrations that may facilitate crime in different parts of the country but he urged operators to put checks and balances to ensure that their agents also do the right thing.
“Operators give licenses to agents to register Sim cards, therefore, they have to put checks and balances to ensure that they do the right thing,” he said clarifying that “What we are dealing with now is not SIM card registration, but SIM card verification. People are registering cards using other peoples’ details”.
Bbosa also said that much as SIM card registration is a success in the country, Ugandans need to appreciate the security of SIM card registration.
In a recent meeting at UCC headquarters in Bugolobi, also attended by UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi, Uganda Police officials and representatives from all telecom operators, a task team was created to review ways in which Simcard registration can further be enhanced to promote safety and security of users and the general public.
Quoting CEO of MTN Uganda Bbossa said the best decision that was made is to introduce biometric SIM card registration because it has enabled financial institutions to lend money to people through mobile money.
Following a report in Daily Monitor on 7th October, revealing that some people were able to get SIM cards using forged documents, UCC moved to prevent further damage after detectives attached to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) busted a suspected SIM card fraud ring.
Two people were put in Luzira after reports that reports they were selling SIM cards using forged national identity cards or refugee cards, which prompted the Police and the sector regulator, UCC, to intervene.
Another action taken was to suspend SIM card registration by refugees until a mechanism has been agreed with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to isolate fake refugee registration cards.
According to the news story, with UGX. 50,000, one could easily obtain a functional SIM card using forged documents. Following measures adopted since 2018 to fight crime and other forms of phone abuse, telecommunication companies are obliged to ensure that registered phone numbers match with the subscriber’s National Identification Number (NIN) and biometric fingerprint.