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Rwanda takes on sim-card registration program

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In a bid to curb down on crimes committed through use of telecommunications, the Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority has announced plans of having all mobile phone users register their sim-cards this year.

The exercise is set to start on February 4th to July 31st, 2013 and each sim-card will be registered to the individual users’ national identification card. This comes at a time when most east African countries like Kenya and Uganda have also adapted the same process.

The exercise will be conducted free of charge and each individual is required to present his or her identification at the RURA offices in order to complete the process of registration, and however wont abide by the deadline with be automatically disconnected from the network, according to Regis Gatarayiha, a RURA official.

The biggest question raised by phone users is that of persons who don’t have identifications and children below age who have phones. However, RURA officials say that the children phone numbers will be registered under their parents or guardians identifications.

Some residents have welcomed this move saying that it will reduce crimes and especially phone thefts that have been out of control in the previous years. Some phone users also believe that this move has implications especially if ones stolen phone is used for dubious activities.

However RURA officials have stated that in such cases of stolen phones, the registered users must immediately notify the utility and relevant security officials.

The Police Investigation Unit says that over Rwf1billions was stolen from various individuals through phone and communication related crimes in 2012. According to the Eric Kayiranga, the representative of the police investigation unit, the new move will impact on their ability to track down and monitor such crimes and reduce the cases in future.

Mobile communications providers in Rwanda- that is MTN Tigo and Airtel will be the key partners of the implementation of the new program. All the three service providers stated that they have made preparations to ensure that their clients are helped through the process.

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