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CONFIRMED: SIM-card registration deadline stays

ICT Minister Tumwebaze

The deadline of May 19 set by government for all unregistered SIM-cards to be switched off (voice communication only for a start) will stand, Frank Tumwebaze,  Minister of ICT and National Guidance has confirmed.

“The deadline of 19th May set by government will be enforced at Midnight,” Tumwebaze told the press on Friday afternoon.

“This is therefore to confirm that the deadline stands and all unregistered, unverified and un-validated SIM cards will be switched off initially for voice communications. In other words the holders of those cards will not be able to receive or make calls.”

Tumwebaze said a parliament motion the day before stating that the SIM-card registration deadline should go into next year, was simply advisory, and government would consider the issues raised by the MPs.

A response from Parliament is only expected next week, as last night, the house was adjourned to Tuesday.

Reading from a statement (see FULL STATEMENT below), Tumwebaze added that, “As a measure however, to mitigate loss of money for those with Mobile Money deposits, the service will not be switched off for the unregistered, unverified and un-validated SIM cards.”

A transition period will be allowed, he explained, for unregistered Mobile Money customers to either withdraw their balances or transfer them to registered SIM cards or to their banks.

While withdrawal or transfer of Mobile Money balances on unregistered/unverified numbers will be enabled, loading/depositing of more money will be disabled on the unverified cards, Tumwebaze said.

Another measure taken by government to ease the registration, verification and validation process for citizens as demanded by Parliament and citizens, Tumwebaze said, is for
National Identification and Registration Authority NIRA to allow new ID applicants whose IDs are still pending processing  to use their application form numbers.

Once they get their IDs, he added, with the National Identification Number (NINs), then they can re-submit online using the USSD code *197# he said.


Sim Card Press Release May 19th – Uganda Government by The Independent Magazine on Scribd



Uganda’s Parliament ON Thursday passed a motion extending the registration of SIM-cards deadline by not more than one year.

Government responded soon after. Frank Tumwebaze, Spokesperson Government of Uganda said on twitter that “Government notes and will address issues of Parliament in regard to the SIM-card verification period, the deadline stands.”

The resolution was passed 24 hours to a planned government deadline that will see all unregistered or unverified SIM-cards disabled by the telecom  companies.

MTN’s soft suspension

Earlier Thursday, Uganda’s leading telecom company MTN prepared for Friday’s deadline of SIM-Card registration, by deactivating numbers that have not yet been verified. MTN called it a “soft deactivation”, that was lifted at midday.

“This is a soft suspension, dial *197*3#ok to submit your NIN, however,your SIM will be activated at noon today,” MTN said on twitter in response to complaints by subscribers.

MTN added that “numbers that are not fully registered are on a soft suspension, from 8am to mid-day. Apologies for the inconvenience.”

Experts said the suspension was one way MTN was driving awareness for registration, and also checking their systems ahead of the deadline which is midnight Friday. But many on twitter were outraged, demanding to know if regulations allowed MTN to do their tests before the deadline.

The High Court in Kampala has meanwhile declined to restrain the Uganda Communications’ Communication (UCC) from deactivating all unregistered SIM-cards on May 19 2017.

Justice Steven Musota  on Thursday dismissed an application for a temporary injunction filed by the Jobless Brotherhood that sought to block UCC from switching off unregistered mobile phone users until the main case is heard and disposed off.

No rush, until now…..

Subscribers registering their simcards.

The mad rush by Ugandans to register their SIM-cards last month after a one week ultimatum issued by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) seems a far cry from the current situation as the May 19 deadline looms.

Government extended the exercise by a month after many people complained about the reregistration exercise. Officials in the telecom sector and their counterparts in government, including Police boss, Gen Kale Kayihura have conducted meetings over the registration exercise although reports indicate they have not agreed on a number of issues including what to do with those who fail to beat the deadline.


One comment

  1. Hon Frank Tumwebaze, think through your person your self wether you indeed serve Ugandans or somebody else. The biodata cloud of the citizenry is privileged information and non of this telcos is Ugandan!! Why don’t you listen to what your fellow MPs say about the people’s views they represent? Start by data integration of voters cards, passports, birth certificates, driving permits, etc and stop creating corruption enablers to fleece the citizenry by bribes to get hurried National IDs. You never run bleeding the brains of Ugandans yet you never allow previous scars to heal!! Loads of tosh!!

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