Rwanda plans to adopt a SIM Card registration scheme, to curb criminal acts made by cell phone users the head of Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) said yesterday.
“We brought the issue to the attention of the Minister in charge of ICT and they are working on the policy,” Regis Gatarayiha, the Director General of RURA said yesterday during the ongoing five day conference of the East Africa Communication Organisation (EACO).
The conference brought together regional operators, regulators and other stakeholders.
According to Gatarayiha, Rwanda will learn from Kenya and Tanzania, which adopted the scheme.
The scheme will be implemented within six months after cabinet has approved the law governing it, he said.
“If they have all the legal tools to implement the system and have proper laws in place, the process of registering does not take six months.”
The regulator set June 12, 2012 deadline for SIM Card registration.
“We have identified some challenges. First, people have been buying SIM Cards from dealers, who are not registered. So to tell a subscriber to go back and register, we have to have proper registration centres across the country near mobile users and this has to be done by operators,” he added.
“In case of criminal activities, there was no way of tracking them down and for security purposes, once a subscriber is registered, phone criminality is going to be reduced significantly,” Gatarayiha said.
The Director General for Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, Prof. John S. Nkoma, said that Tanzania was the first country in the region to introduce the system.
80 percent of its mobile subscribers registered so far, he said. Burundi and Uganda are yet to adopt the system.
Rwanda is also carrying out a study on the entire telecommunications sector, which, among other things, is expected to recommend new interconnection fees.
“The Rwf40 that is in force today, is not cost effect and everything is being considered in this case study,” Gatarayiha said, hinting that the fees could be slashed.