Telecom Namibia deactivates nearly 200,000 SIM cards

Telecom Namibia deactivates nearly 200,000 SIM cards

Telecom Namibia (TN) the state-owned telecommunications operator, has taken what it describes as a proactive step to align with regulatory requirements by deactivating 191,598 unregistered prepaid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.

The move became effective on 1 April this year following directives from the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), which had decided to end the registration process on 31 March 2024. This followed an extension from the initial deadline of 31 December 2023.

According to TN spokesperson Nomvula Kambinda, prior to the deactivation the company had a total of 442,410 active mobile subscribers. It now has a base of 250,812 registered prepaid subscribers. However, customers with deactivated SIM cards still have the option of visiting a TN Teleshop to complete the registration process.

According to the Namibia Economist news service, another operator, MTC, which describes itself as the first and largest mobile telecommunications company in Namibia, has managed to register 1,613, 893 subscribers while unregistered customers are now standing at 323,236. This represents an 83.3% registration rate.

MTC says its unregistered customers are to be suspended from the network. That is, they cannot  use any services until they comply with the SIM registration process. However, their numbers will not be deactivated for 90 days. To register customers need a valid ID, a SIM card and, optionally, a mobile device. 

The SIM registration process continues to be tricky in a number of African countries, though at least Namibia, with a population of just over 2.5 million, doesn’t face the logistical and demographic challenges of more populous countries like Ghana or Nigeria.

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