Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Nicholas Dausi says phone Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards are not supposed to be sold anyhow as users need to register them with service providers.
Dausi said this Wednesday in Mzuzu during a meeting with Mzuzu City Executive Committee members where he briefed them on the newly enacted Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act, 2016 and the revised Communications Act, 2016.
“From 1 June, according to Communications Act, everybody who would like to have a telephone number must register with service providers; failing which, one will not be allowed to have a local SIM card,” the minister said.
He said the registration will among other things expose people who have a tendency to threaten and insult others through mobile phones.
Dausi added that registration of SIM cards will also assist the police to easily trace burglary or theft at somebody’s house since the card and the phone number will be able to show the holder’s particulars.
“Let me tell you, Malawi is the only country in SADC region that did not register SIM cards,” he said.
He said during registration, subscribers are not supposed to pay anything apart from the usual payment for the purchase of the SIM card.
Following this development, Dausi said vendors are not allowed to sell SIM cards on an open market otherwise the law will take its course.
He explained that people are now required to go direct to subscribers such as Airtel Malawi and Telecom Network Malawi (TNM) to buy and register their SIM cards.
He further said, alternatively, the service providers are required to set up proper selling and registration points in various places convenient to customers.
“We have already discussed with the executive officers of Airtel and TNM so that they comply with this; otherwise, we will not allow vendors to sell SIM cards anymore,” he said.
Commenting on the development, Mzuzu District Aids Coordinating Committee chairperson, Evans Katsilizika Mwale thanked the government for introducing registration of SIM cards.
However, Mwale said there is need for mobile phone service providers in the country to ensure reliable network across the country.
“Our network is not reliable and we sometimes spend a lot on units and lose them without making any call due to poor network connectivity,” Katsilizika said.-Mana