EDITORIAL: Limiting number of SIM cards fine, but…

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has finally taken steps to root out “ghost” sim cards that have been circulating.

Rogue mobile telephone agents had been running a lucrative underground SIM registration service. Since one  needs a national ID to obtain a SIM card, people who didn’t want their identities associated with a certain telephone simply gave mobile phone agents someone else’s ID particulars for a fee.

So cyber criminals were able to use innocent people’s names on their businesses. So it is not uncommon to find several phone numbers associated to one’s name.

Now RURA is clamping down on the vice and has ordered that after January 31, no one will have more than three SIM cards registered under his or her name.

OK, that is one way of dealing with the problem, but a few grey areas still remain that need solutions.

National identity cards are given out at the age of 16, so parents registered their under-age children under their own names. So, does that mean that children under 16 cannot apply for a phone number?

Many people tend to subscribe to several service providers for both voice and data. Internet modems use SIM cards, will that also limit the number of modems a person can register?

RURA is well-intentioned and should be supported in its noble endevour, but it needs to work on its communication.

And speaking of communication, RURA’s statement on the new guidelines seen on social media were in Kinyarwanda and English yet this country has four official languages. When will we begin embracing all four in official communication?