According to RURA’s directive, anyone who wants to get a new SIM, must do so at registered Telecom service centres, authorized agent shops or kiosks.
Charles Gahungu, the General Manager, ICT Regulation Department at RURA, says that this new procedure will enhance SIM card security as it will entail ID verifications and also taking pictures of the people buying or swapping SIM cards. “Literally the sim cards were being registered by only checking if the ID number exists, where the agents were able to activate the sim card as long as they had an ID number, this resulted in people having sim cards registered on their IDs without their knowledge. With this new process, before swapping or registering a SIM card, the service providers will first check if the presented National ID matches the data in the National Identification Agency and confirm that the person physically present is the ID owner.”
Gahungu said that this will also help curb fraud like mobile money scams, as any new SIM registered will be able to track its owner.
General Manager of Internal Audit and Forensics at MTN, George Kagabo, has mentioned that so far this year, there have been seven cases of fraud stemming from unauthorized SIM swaps.
“The most recurring frauds were adding SIM cards on people’s IDs without their consent and later using those SIM cards in fraudulent activities, making it hard to track and apprehend the fraudsters as the numbers are not registered on them but rather to innocent customers, and frauds on Mobile Money”. Kagabo embraces the new policy, as he believes that it will curb fraudulent activities on SIMs.
Airtel Rwanda is not left out in the embrace of the new policy. It has shared that it seeks to ensure the security of mobile phone users, and so the new policy is ensuring just that for their customers.
RURA further reminded all telecom subscribers to carry out a regular check of SIM cards registered on their IDs by dialling *125#, and self-deregister any unrecognized SIM card.