Rwanda’s telecommunications regulatory body, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), has issued a new directive regarding SIM card use.
From 31 January, nationals and foreigners with work permits or refugee cards will be allowed a maximum of three SIM cards on each network, bringing the maximum to six, with three on MTN and three on Airtel. Other foreign passport holders will only be allowed one SIM card on each network.
The new regulations will, however, have exemptions for specific cases such as parents with children under the age of 18 and would like to acquire sim-cards on behalf of their children.
The move will also exempt corporates and businesses who would like to have multiple sim-cards for their operations and employees.
Director of ICT Scarce Resources Management and Management at RURA, George Kwizera said that the changes have been occasioned by challenges and follow consultations with stakeholders. Among those consulted were telcos, Rwanda Investigation Bureau, and National Identification Agency.
Some of the challenges that triggered the changes include instances whereby sim-cards are registered to different people other than their users. “It is very common to find over 10 sim-cards registered under one’s identity card without their knowledge. This is partly due to the ease of acquiring the sim-cards as some networks give them for free,” Kwizera said
The regulator also advised subscribers to check the numbers registered under their IDs and de-register those extra SIMs that are unknown or inactive so as to be within the set limit.