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Simcard registration dividends

Africell’s Commercial Director, Milad Khairallah told The Independent on Oct. 20 that he agrees with UCC and other players on the issue of growing confidence amongst players while transacting with their customers because of the SIM card registration exercise that captures details of users.

Without giving specifics, Khairallah said they had registered part of the 300, 000 SIM cards that were switched off on August 31 because of lack of registration details by owners.

According to government officials, the enactment of the Registration of Persons Act 2015 makes the national ID a mandatory document to use for any form of registration services, SIM card registration inclusive.

This is explained in sections 65 (1) (a) to (l) and 66 (1) and (2) that elaborate on the use of information in the register and mandatory use of National ID cards respectively.

This meant that telecom subscribers who didn’t have national ID were unable to register their SIM cards. To some players, this meant decline in revenues in some ways.

By close of deadline on August 31, 2017, UCC and the office of the Prime Minister reported that 98% of the SIM cards had been successfully registered and were compliant.

But Mutabazi said that the 2% that was not registered by end of August was insignificant going by industry operations.

He said that there are users who voluntarily got off some networks because they had more than one SIM cards.

“Let’s not focus on unregistered users because if you are a serious user, you must be registered,” Mutabazi said. “We have not lost numbers in terms of volumes,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mutabazi said that it is possible for big players to lose some revenue because they have the largest number of subscribers compared to small players who would easily deal with their loyal customers.

Commenting generally on the quality of service, he said it is currently UTL that is grappling with poor services but set to improve following the government’s move to take-over its management in March this year.

“Quality of service is a big concern but it shouldn’t be overwhelmingly a big problem as of now,” Mutabazi said, adding that in any case, there are more players in the market providing an alternative choice.

Future outlook

Going forward, Mutabazi said that the country is moving towards the fourth industrial revolution and that it would be very dangerous for Uganda not to invest so as to move fast in communication technology.

“We must keep pace with the speed of changing technology as a region and continent so that we don’t remain behind,” he said.

He said the regulator is happy that MTN has earmarked US$70-80 million worth of investment in new technology and other areas.

He added that government needs to study its policies on taxation, energy and other infrastructure so as to support growth in communication services.


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