Mobile Telecom operators in Bunyoro region are requesting for an extension of the SIM Card registration deadline. The mandatory registration exercise that started in March last year, comes to a close on February 28th.
The Commission has warned to deactivate all unregistered SIM Cards beginning March 1. Despite the registration exercise running for the whole year, operators say most of their customers especially in rural areas have not yet registered.
They fear that some of their clients may be left out if the simcard registration deadline is not extended. Sam Kajura, the MTN Field Supervisor Hoima says many of their customers in rural areas lack registration requirements like passport size photos and identification documents. Kajura says some have been barred from registering and sent back to get the requirements. He asks for the February 28 deadline extension to wait for such customers.
Meanwhile long queues are seen at all leading telecom company offices across the region as customers struggle to bit the deadline. At Hoima MTN offices 600 customers are being registered per day, while at Warid Telecom more than 200 customers are register daily. Moses Tumusiime, a registration assistant at Warid Telecom Hoima office explains that the number of customers has shot up as the registration deadline draws closer.
Tumusiime says this is evidence enough that many customers are not yet registered and may not be covered in the remaining few days. He asks for an extension of the deadline. In the neighbouring Kibaale district, the situation is the same as mobile phone users flock registration centers at the last minute.
The phone users attribute this to the limited registration centers in the area. Alex Karungi, a resident of Mwitanzigye in Kisiita Sub County says there are limited registration centers in the rural sub county making them travel long distances to register their SIM cards.
Karungi says he has since been hesitant to travel to Kisiita trading center, several miles away hoping that a registration center will be opened up near him in vain.