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Sanctions for unregistered SIM cards begin today

SIM card users in Ghana who have not re-registered their SIM Cards will start facing punitive sanctions from today, September 5, 2022.

According to a document from the National Communications Authority (NCA), the initial punitive measures will include the rerouting of outgoing calls for special messages to be played.

Some numbers will also be blocked for special messages to be played for 48 hours.

Within September, these measures shall not include the blocking of SMS services to give defaulting subscribers the opportunity to initiate registration if they so wish.

“Subscribers who fully register their SIM Cards within the period they have been blocked will only be unblocked by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) after the 48 hours to avoid the MNOs tampering with their systems intermittently,” the document noted.

The full blocking of SIM cards will only begin after September 30.

The window for the re-registration of SIM cards was extended on July 31, but a month after the extension the number of persons who have visited offices of the network service providers to have their SIMs registered dropped by 98%.

Data from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications shows significant drop in SIM card re-registration after extension of the exercise.

According to the figures, the number of subscribers re-registering their SIM cards fell to 5,861 on August 19, 2022, from about 235,000 recorded on July 31, 2022, when the extension was announced.

This represented a 98% decline.

The data also showed that by August 1, 2022, the number of registration fell to 62,715, compared with the 235,460 recorded on July 28, 2022.

The trend continued until it dropped further to 5,861 by August 19, 2022.

Following public agitations, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful announced an extension of the deadline to September 30, 2022.

Some people had indicated that they were yet to receive their Ghana Card, the primary identification system used for the SIM card registration.

Government through the sector minister has also warned that there will not be any extension as it launches the online portal for the registration for android users.

After the deadline, subscribers who have not yet registered their SIM cards will be blocked from making calls, browsing and receive calls.

As at July 31 when the deadline was extended, data from the National Communications Authority (NCA), indicated that as of July 28, 2022, there were 42.1 million  (42,121, 921) voice SIM cards with 25.2 million (25,260,661) voice SIMs completing stage one of the registration process, representing 60% of total registration.

Stage one had 16.8 million (16,861,260) unregistered SIM cards representing 40% while 16.5 million (16,590,350) SIMs representing 38% had fully completed the stage one and stage two registration process.

As of Thursday, July 21, 2022, 16.9 million (16,969,034) have registered for the Ghana card with about 16.5 million (16,535,623) cards printed and 15.7 million (15, 702,719) have been issued with 832,904 cards yet to be collected.

At the time, many data only SIMs had also not been registered as the owners were not aware that thos SIMS also needed to be registered and those are the SIMs in your MIFIs, and other devices.

Up to the end of December 2022, non-resident Ghanaians without Ghana card can use passport to complete the process via the app but would be required to update details once they acquired the Ghana card.

All visitors to Ghana can now acquire SIMS with their passport and Airport Authorities have to work with network operators to provide adequate venues for the registration of SIMs at the Airport and these would be valid for three months.

To use the SIMS for long period visitors must acquire the non-citizen identification card to validate their SIMs.

Ghanaians on official assignment outside the country or students on scholarship who could not acquire Ghana card by December are to contact the NCA.

Special provisions have already been made for members of the diplomatic corps in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

A decision is to be taken with the NIA on modalities for amputees and others with physical challenges who had difficulty registering their SIMs.

Last year, the government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization, gave a directive that all Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards should be reregistered over a six-month period spanning October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 using the Ghana Card.

The deadline was extended to this Sunday, July 31, 2022.

That is to synchronize the details on one’s Ghana Card, a national identification card, with those used for the SIM registration to avoid the situation where some unscrupulous persons acquire a number SIM cards using different unverified details so they can avoid being found out when they perpetrate crime.

The initiative is, therefore, meant to stem the increasing incidents of fraud using the phone and also to monitor and track down persons who will use their phones for all manner of criminal activities.



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