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Roaming Pen – Review Archaic SIM Registration Method

Roaming Pen – Review Archaic SIM Registration Method

The National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) recently issued a June 30 deadline for all mobile telecommunication companies to register the SIM cards of their subscribers.

Any mobile phone subscribers who fail to get his/her SIM card registered will face the choice of having that SIM card blocked, NATCOM threatened.

This warning was reiterated by the Information and Communication Ministry.

Minister Ibrahim Ben Kargbo emphasized that people will need to get approval from his ministry in order for their blocked SIM cards reactivated. Although I remain skeptical of the authority of the minister with regards that pronouncement, or the actuality of obtaining his permission to reactivate sim cards, the fact remains that NATCOM and the ministry are in a no nonsense mood to get people to adhere to the requirement of the telecommunications Act.

I want to however emphatically state here that irrespective of the fact that the significance of registering SIM cards cannot be overemphasized, the method used in registering people within this short notice can best be described as archaic, impractical and unacceptable in this 21st century.

Apart from people being spotted in very long queues in various locations across the city streets and other parts of the country, some mobile companies are subjecting their staff to foot patrol (mobile) registration in the city.

The question being asked my many people is whether or not the mobile companies will be able to register their numerous subscribers by the June 30 deadline, which is already here.

What is more ironical to the whole scheme of sim registration is the fact that unregistered SIM cards are still on sale in various locations across the country. A war has been waged against existing or active unregistered SIMS but the mobile companies are still selling unregistered SIMS. How can NATCOM and Minister I.B Kargbo talk of registering SIM cards and lose sight of the continuation in the sales of unregistered SIM cards?

What about the people who have numerous SIM cards from the various mobile companies? Can they afford to jump from one queue to another to register their SIM cards? The answer is definitely a big NO.

Also, will those foot patrol staff of the various mobile companies be able to accomplish the task of registering their numerous subscribers in their various homes? What about those areas in the provinces that are not easily accessible? These are some of the burning questions begging answers. In fact, it is not all the mobile companies that are engaged in this foot patrol registration drive.

Roaming Pen

Roaming Pen

Much was expected from the mobile companies with respect to registration of the people in particularly the city. With the revolution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), mobile companies were expected to use the internet and other technologies to register people who cannot afford to stand in long queues but have access to the internet. Even applications for visas and other important jobs are now done online with convenience.

It would have made a huge difference if mobile companies had endeavored to grab this modern opportunity and save their subscribers and staff from some of the difficulties they are presently subjected to.

How easy it would have been to click on the internet, download the mobile registration forms of the various companies, fill these forms online, and submit them online.

But the mobile companies, of which much is expected in terms of modern technology, ignored this opportunity and ended up subjecting their “valued” and “cherished” subscribers to undue suffering.

The office schedules and other engagements of some people in this city cannot permit them time to join those queues and register their SIM cards.

The mobile companies would have also made things easier for their subscribers if they had allowed them to register via their mobile phones. Yes, technology has improved to an extent that subscribers can even send their pictures and details for registration through their mobile phones. With modern technology, one can even send and receive emails using their mobile phones.

There are uncountable advanced ways of registering people which are far better than the archaic methods now being used to register people.

If the present methods of registering people are not reviewed and the deadline not extended, there is no doubt that thousands of subscribers have been unable to register their sim cards.

Blocking sim cards of thousands of people will be chaotic to say the least and the need to speedily and seriously look into this matter cannot be overemphasized.

The deadline is already here and there are still thousands of subscribers who are yet to register their sim cards with no fault of theirs – people in this 21st century cannot cope with archaic methods of this nature.

What is also certain is the reality that mobile companies will loose thousands of their subscribers if NATCOM stands by it deadline and we all know the implications of that.

The mobile companies are also pleading with NATCOM to extend the deadline; an occurrence that speaks volume of the looming disaster to hit the mobile companies in an instance were NATCOM proves stubborn to listen to their calls.

The need to review this method and extend the deadline cannot be overemphasized and I hope somebody is listening to the Roaming Pen.

Abdul Karim Kabia (Fonti), Freetown

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