With less than six weeks to go before all mobile subscribers have to be registered, Telecel Zimbabwe has introduced on-line registration and registration via the mobile phone itself for the convenience of its customers.
Customers can use a mobile registration system similar to the one they use when making a balance enquiry. Alternatively they can register on a registration web-site established for on-line registration purposes. There is also a way of registering through text messages, though the process is a little lengthier than the mobile registration system.
All mobile phone users have to register with their network for each line they have before August 31, in terms of regulations introduced by the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz). Failure to do so will result in their number being disconnected.
The registration of SIM cards is intended to protect members of the public from criminals using unregistered mobile phones. A similar exercise has taken place in a number of other countries, including South Africa.
The quickest way of registering using the mobile phone is to dial *176#. This will open up an interactive platform, guiding the subscriber through the process of registering the mobile phone’s SIM card.
Once the subscriber dials the number, a response will be received asking the subscriber to provide his or her surname. When this has been entered and sent, by pressing the send button, a message appears on the screen acknowledging the information and asking for further information to be sent.
The process continues in this way until all the required information, which includes the subscriber’s name, physical address and identity card number, has been provided. The whole process should not take more than about a minute, depending on how quickly the subscriber enters the information. Confirmation that the registration has been successful is sent via a text message.
A similar way of registering is via text message, although this process is longer because it involves text messages going backwards and forwards.
To start the process of registering via SMS, the subscriber sends a text message with the word ‘START’ to 23150. This results in a responding text message asking for the subscriber’s surname. After this is sent the message is acknowledged via SMS and further information requested. The process continues in this way until all the information required for registration has been sent.
There is no charge for messages sent as part of this registration process. Confirmation of successful registration is received later by SMS.
Subscribers can also register by going to the website www.telecelregistration.com. They enter their mobile phone number and click on the Send PIN button. The PIN, which is a unique personal identification number, is sent to their mobile phone.
Once the special PIN number is received the subscriber enters the number in the appropriate box on the website. He or she then clicks on the LOG IN button, which opens up a registration form.
After filling in the required information in the different fields, the subscriber clicks on the Submit button. After checking the details on the verification page that appears, he or she clicks on the Confirm button.
A Telecel spokesperson said the registration of SIM cards was an important exercise being carried out by all networks, though Telecel is believed to be the first offering on-line registration and registration through the mobile phone.
“We want to encourage all our subscribers to make sure that their SIM cards are registered before August 31 to avoid them being disconnected.
“It is important that they ensure too that the information they supply is correct, as information found to be false could result not only in the phone being disconnected but in their being barred from obtaining another line.
“This is a national security issue intended to benefit every citizen,” he said, adding that the intention was to prevent criminals using unregistered cellphones in the perpetration of their crimes or getting away with sending anonymous abusive text messages.
“We believe that by offering on-line registration and registration through the mobile phone itself, we have made the registration requirement easy to comply with.
“We would encourage all our subscribers to register as early as possible. When registration has been made as easy as this, there is no reason why people should not start registering immediately,” he said.