Uganda’s Parliament has 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.
How do you cause the lifting of a hard deadline? By causing chaos and public outrage with a “soft suspension”. pic.twitter.com/Hlfd1Gz2WN
— David F.K. Mpanga (@dfkm1970) May 18, 2017
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…..
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.
A number of people remain unregistered blaming National Identification Registration Authority for their predicament. Some say the process is too long and other say they registered and have never received their IDs. Ugandan citizens are required to re-register their SIM-cards using the National Identification Number (NIN) on their National IDs.