DAR ES SALAAM, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania's communications watchdog said on Monday only 12 million out of 43.75 million mobile phone subscribers have biometrically registered their SIM cards as the December deadline for registration approached.
Semu Mwakyanjala, the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) Acting Corporate Communications Manager, said the remaining over 31 million subscribers who have not yet registered biometrically were risking to be locked out on December 31, the set deadline.
In May this year, TCRA directed all Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards to biometrically register their lines by the end of the year.
TCRA said the move was aimed at getting rid of dishonest telephone line users, controlling cybercrime and protecting Tanzanians against those abusing the telecommunications sector.
"We have initiated several campaigns to sensitize the public on the importance of biometric registration because the deadline will not be extended after December 31," said Mwakyanjala.
The registration of SIM card is mandatory under the Electronics and Postal Communications Act of 2010, and, under this law it is an offence to sell or distribute an unregistered SIM card, to use an unregistered SIM card, to fail to record sale of a SIM card and to provide false information of statement during registration.
In April this year, the National Identification Authority (NIDA) offered to facilitate biometric registration of mobile telephone numbers which officially began on May 1.
NIDA said in a statement that the authority will implement the biometric registration of telephone lines across the country in collaboration with the TCRA and telecommunication operators.
According to the statement, registration of SIM cards using the new technology will require mobile phone owners to have NIDA identity cards or a NIDA registration number. Enditem