From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Africell Launches Mobile Registration Units
By Bintu Aminata Sesay
May 14, 2010, 17:10

The leading and most reliable telecommunication company in Sierra Leone, africell on Wednesday 12 May 2010 launched its ‘Mobile Registration Units’ in line with NATCOM’s regulation to assist state security and to deter criminal acts. The ceremony was held at their Headquarter office, Wilberforce in Freetown.

In his statement, the Administrative and Human Resource Director of the company, Mr. Abdul Aziz Gabisi informed members of the press that the briefing was all about what africell has done, and plans to do in getting Subscribers’ Identity Module (SIM) Cards registered in the prescribed manner. "SIM Card registration started on or about 1s October 2009 with lots of sensitization and publicity. This involved registration of new subscriber base as well as those existing prior to the start date," he said, adding that SIM Registration is a Legal requirement under the Telecommunications Act of 2006 as amended and that it is also an ECOWAS protocol. He disclosed that it was to assure responsibility and accountability in the use of mobile phones in for example tracing malicious and fraudulent calls and capacitating law enforcement agencies in protecting the general public. "africell has also maintained a database of all SIM Cards registered. The database has information such as SIM card serial number, mobile phone number and the name and address of the subscriber," the Human Resource Director further intimated.

He said the exercise comprise the use of fully packaged vehicles with logistics for mobile SIM registration. "The units will contain Laptops with special software and cameras for the exercise," he continued, adding that subscribers’ photographs will be taken and personal information recorded in order to fast track SIM registration. "By this way, africell will therefore take SIM registration to the customer’s door steps, strategic meeting points and remote areas.

In his statement NATCOM Commissioner for Consumer Services, Mr. Ibrahim Kabia said as a commission and regulator, they were very much concerned with the frivolous manner in which SIM and DIM cards were sold and sometimes distributed along the streets by operators of the various telecom companies. "SIM cards in most developed countries are not easily bought from the side walk as it is experienced in our country. The reasons for this are many: security considerations are paramount in the acquisition of SIM/UlM cards; Security for the company, the individual, and the country at large," he maintained, adding that it was the strength of NATCOM’s call for all operators to register all customers using their SIM or UIM cards. "It is a laid down law passed by an Act of Parliament." In conclusion, he congratulated the Management of africell for adhering to the rules of the game and more importantly respecting the laws of the State.

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