Over 8 million unregistered SIM cards have been deactivated in Ghana since the country began a nationwide drive for SIM registration in October 2021.
The deadline for SIM registration has been pushed back several times, slipping from March this year to July following poor initial progress, then again to October following technical setbacks. Ultimately, SIM owners were granted until 30th November 2022 to complete the registration process – and faced losing access to voice, SMS, data and mobile money services if they failed to comply.
To register, SIM users were obliged first to link their national ID card to their SIM, then to submit biometric data. Over the course of the registration drive, the National Communications Authority (NCA) made efforts to incentivise users wishing to complete the process, as well as implementing penalties for those who failed to fully register their SIMs.
Towards the end of November, MTN Ghana announced that around 5.7 million SIM cards on its network had not been fully registered, and accordingly would be deactivated once the deadline passed. However, any customers wishing to reactivate their SIMs can do so by completing the biometric data submission by the end of May 2023.