The Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation (MoCD) has indicated that SIM card registration will commence from October 1, 2021. This was announced when the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful met the press at the Minister’s Press Briefing at the Ministry of Information’s Press Center on Sunday, 5th September 2021.
The MoCD will launch the National SIM Card Registration Exercise across the country next month, October 1, 2021. This exercise will be open to the general public and everyone is entreated to partake when it begins.
According to the minister, this isn’t the first attempt to register sims, but all the previous efforts failed because of the lack of a verifiable secure identification document”.
Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful indicated that the above situation also led to the influx of pre-registered SIM Cards in the system hence our inability to track and trace people who commit crimes with the SIM cards.
“The prevalence of fake IDs and a non-existent system of verifying the IDs led to unscrupulous individuals procuring hundreds of SIM Cards for SIM Boxing leading to the loss of revenue for the state. The Ghana card provides the basis for a successful sim registration exercise this time”, she said.
The Law Requirement.
The Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulations, 2011, L.I 2006 mandates network operators or service providers to activate a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) only after the subscriber registers the SIM as directed by the NCA.
Modalities for SIM Registration.
The following are the underway activities that will guide you on how to register your sim card successfully.
- All new subscribers will have to produce their Ghana card to acquire a new SIM card. For Businesses to register sims in bulk, the Operators will be required to verify the Business Registration documents with the Registrar General’s Department and verify the identity of the Shareholder or the Director for Limited Liability Companies and Public Institutions respectively.
- Existing subscribers will register their SIMS via USSD and a sim registration App.
- The verification of all subscribers and businesses will be against the databases of the National Identification Authority and the Registrar General’s Department where necessary. Indeed, for the Businesses, in addition to verifying from the Registrar General’s Department that that Business is valid, a shareholder or director of the organisation will have to personally be linked to the registration of the SIMs.
- Individuals can register a total number of 10 SIM Cards across all networks and Foreigners will have a limit of 3 SIM Cards across all networks. Let me caution here, that people should not think that they can hide behind Businesses and register as many SIM Cards as they want. All SIM Cards registered to a Business will be linked to a Shareholder or Director of the Business and if a Business SIM Card is found to have been engaged in fraudulent activity, the Shareholder or Director will be held liable.
- The NCA will develop mechanisms to enable subscribers (individuals and Businesses) to check and verify all SIM Cards which have been registered in their names at all times.
- Foreigners visiting Ghana can acquire a SIM Card using their Passports or Travel Card but they can only use the SIM Card for 30 days after which it will be deactivated. Foreigners intending to use a SIM Card for more than 30 days will have to obtain the Non-Citizen Ghana Card to do so. The NCA has made it mandatory for the Operators to verify Passports and Travel Cards against an international database before registering and activating a SIM Card for Foreigners. Special arrangements will be made for diplomatic personnel living and working in Ghana.
- Enforcing Regulation 6 of the SIM Regulations which states that:
a) “A network operator or service provider that provides international roaming service in the country to a subscriber from another country shall enter into an agreement with the network operator or service provider of that subscriber”.
b) “The agreement shall provide for the particulars of the subscriber in the records of the network operator or service provider during the period that the subscriber uses the Subscriber Identity Module in the country”.
- The minimum age for registration has been set at 15 years, taking into consideration the increased use of communications services since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic and to facilitate E-education.
Period of Registration and Non-compliance Verdict.
SIM Registration will begin on 1st October 2021 for a six (6) month period and end on 31st March 2022. Any sim which is not registered at the end of this exercise will be blocked.
Data Security and Protection.
The data will be stored in a Central SIM Registry at the National Information Technology Agency with very restricted access to the database. “There will be strict compliance with the Data Protection Act 2012 (Act 843). Furthermore, the Data Protection Commission is a major stakeholder in this exercise” she added.
Note: Ghana Card Registration and pick up.
The NIA is opening Regional and District Offices to enable Ghanaians who have not registered for their Ghana Card to be able to do so and we encourage all Ghanaians and Foreigners resident in Ghana to ensure that they have their Ghana Cards and Non-Citizen Ghana Card ready. In addition, those who have registered but have not picked up their Ghana Cards should be able to do so from the various NIA offices.
Benefits of Registration.
- SIM Card Registration will reduce or eliminate fraudulent and criminal activities.
- It will help authorities ascertain the accurate number of valid and accurate SIMs on the networks.
- It will enable operators to build better demographics of their customer base and help them develop products and services to suit the various groupings.
- NCA will also get more accurate data to regulate the industry even better.
- SIM Registration will enhance economic growth as more confidence is built in the telecommunications sector and people utilize secure devices to access E-Government services and other private mobile-based digital solutions.
- It will minimize mobile money fraud.