Close to a million people in Tanzania rendered unavailable after communication regulator cracks the whip

Tanzanian President John Magufuli likes to snoop and eavesdrop on his ministers’ conversations.
  • At least 656,091 mobile phone users in Tanzania have had their sim card switch off by Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA),
  • James Kilaba, the Director General of TCRA, told state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation that the locking out of biometrically unregistered phone users' SIM cards will be done in phases.
  • The move is informed by the need to get rid of dishonest telephone line users, controlling cybercrime and protecting Tanzanians against those abusing the telecom sector.

On Monday night, at least 656,091 mobile phone users in Tanzania were forcefully kicked out of the communication web by Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).

The close to a million subscribers had their sim cards switched off after they failed to register their SIM cards biometrically by the January 20 deadline, an official said on Tuesday.

James Kilaba, the Director General of TCRA, told state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation that the locking out of biometrically unregistered phone users' SIM cards will be done in phases.

"We are switching off SIM cards which haven't been biometrically registered in phases due to technicalities. You cannot just switch off 10 million subscribers at once." he said.

Kilaba said other 318, 950 phone users risked to be rendered unavailable in the second phase after they had failed to register their SIM cards biometrically.

In mid December last year, TCRA reported that out of the 47 million active sim cards only 42% had been registered.

Only about 28.4 million SIM cards had been registered under the biometric system by January 19th.

On December 27, last year, Tanzanian President John Magufuli extended the deadline for biometric registration of phone users' SIM cards for 20 more days beyond the earlier deadline of December 31 set by the nation's communication watchdog.

Tanzania’s move is informed by the need to get rid of dishonest telephone line users, controlling cybercrime and protecting Tanzanians against those abusing the telecom sector.

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