In what has been viewed as a major setback for Zambia’s SIM registration process, Airtel Zambia announced that it has run out of SIM registration forms and is unable to continue registering users’ cards as part of a government plan to regulate the sector further.
The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has expressed its disappointment with Airtel Zambia “for turning away scores of customers who wanted to register their SIM cards because it had run out of registration forms.”
However, Airtel has said that the fault lies with the telecom regulator for not providing enough support for the process, in what analysts tell Bikyanews.com could be the beginning of tension between the operator, users and the regulator, although Airtel has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.
ZICTA director of legal and regulatory affairs Thomas Malama said “the shortage of registration forms at registration points was unacceptable and unfortunate.”
Malama continued to say that “mobile service providers should assess the number of subscribers they have and provide enough registration forms at every center.”
ZICTA has not yet set a deadline for SIM card registration exercise, however Malama added that “this should not make service providers and subscribers slacken.”
Zambia is following in the footsteps of other East African countries who have been registering SIM cards. In Kenya the process has been anything but smooth, with millions of users losing access to their mobile devices after failing to register their SIMs.