National Communications Authority (NCA) has set up a team to periodically audit the individual Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registers held by mobile network operators (MNO) and Broadband Wireless Access (BWAs) to weed out fraudulent SIM registration.
This is to ensure they are consistent with the Central SIM Register created by NCA.
Director General of NCA Joe Anokye who announced this at a news conference in Accra warned that any MNO or BWA found to be in breach will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
The news conference addressed issues of concern regarding the MTN Zone Bundle and the SIM registration exercise journey.
Anokye said every active registered SIM in the current SIM Registration Database can be traced to a unique Ghana Card.
According to him, 25.4 million (25,448,962) fully registered SIMs are tied to about 13.9 million (13,982,557) unique Ghana Cards.
He stated that the over 11 million unregistered SIM cards will be deactivated on May 31, 2023.
The NCA Director General said subscribers who do not genuinely have Ghana Cards will have to prove that they do not have Ghana Cards to prevent their SIMs being deactivated.
Anokye assured subscribers that their registration information is safe and that the NCA working with stakeholders is committed to ensuring the continuous integrity of the SIM Register.
According to him, the identified abuses regarding fraudulent SIM registration of stage one process which involves identity fraudsters using Ghana Cards of other people to register have been resolved.
He announced that effective June 1, 2023; the SIM registration exercise will only be for new SIMs.
Anokye directed MNOs and BWAs to complete the classification or categorisation of all SIM ownership into either Individual or Business SIM.
He said MNOs and BWAs are to develop a solution whereby consumers can use a Short Code to check the number of SIMs registered with their Ghana Cards.
In addition, he noted that telcos are to ensure that subscribers that want to delink SIM Cards from their Ghana Cards can do so after a full Know Your Customer (KYC) and eyeballing of the subscriber by the MNO.
The NCA Director General stated that the delinking will also be done only at the Customer Care Centres of the MNOs to ensure integrity and to ensure that only the right owners of SIMs are allowed to delink.
Anokye said MNOs and BWAs develop enterprise and web-based systems for Businesses to check and delink SIMs that are no longer in use or are unwanted by the Business.
He described SIM registration as a key national assignment fundamental to digital transformation agenda.
He pointed out that it is critical for the building of trust and confidence in the use of telecommunications, financial and other essential services.
According to him, a reliable SIM Register will support security and law enforcement activities to safeguard the common peace and also promote socio-economic development.
Anokye assured subscribers that the regulatory interventions resulting from the classification of MTN as SMP are intended to sustain choice for consumers and protect consumer interest regarding the provision of innovative services and competitive pricing.
According to him, the protection of competition in the marketplace will protect the interest of consumers in the long term.
He accused MTN of not obtaining the required prior approval before MTN Data Zone Bundle was rolled out.
He also stated that the licence obligation for all MNOs to publish their tariffs including the terms and conditions was not adhered to in respect of MTN Data Zone Bundle.
In view of this, he said MTN was directed to discontinue the product until such time that all the violations have been remedied.
Anokye said after a series of engagements with the Authority, MTN complied with the directives and the product was withdrawn on April 5, 2023.
However, he said MTN has since submitted a revised Data Zone Bundle which has been approved by the Authority for implementation.