By Ronald Musoke
With about 50 days to go, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) says it will not give any additional time to Ugandans who may not have registered their SIM cards by then.
The deadline for registering SIM cards in Uganda is March 1, which is about 52 days from today.
According to the spokesperson of UCC, Fred Otunnu, UCC reckons that between 60-70 % of about 16 million SIM cards believed to be in the hands of Ugandans have been registered by the five Mobile phone companies, namely, MTN, Utl, Airtel, Warid, and Orange so far.
Otunnu said UCC, the country’s regulatory body of the communications sector, is going to engage the telecom sector and other stakeholders to intensify and rally those who are yet to register so that they beat the deadline.
He said UCC was targeting between 90-95% (14.5 million) SIM cards currently available in the country by the time the exercise ends.
By September last year, mobile telecom service providers in the country had registered over six million SIM cards in the first phase of the countrywide exercise. A survey conducted by UCC between July and August found that 40% (6.4 million) were registered since the exercise was launched on March 1, 2012.
Otunnu told The Independent in an exclusive interview that UCC is confident that more people will register their SIM cards as the country reaches the current phase of countdown to the deadline. He said, although it is still early to say, UCC is most likely not to extend the deadline for registering the SIM cards.
The registration is intended to help law enforcement agencies identify SIM card owners, track criminals using phones, curb loss of phones through theft, nuisance/hate speech, fraud, threats and inciting violence.