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Tanzania extends biometric SIM card registration deadline

Tanzania extends biometric SIM card registration deadline

Tanzania's president John Magufuli has extended the deadline for the biometric registration of SIM cards to 20 January 2020.

The Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) had set 31 December 2019 as the original deadline for over 43 million mobile phone subscribers to biometrically register their SIM cards.

According to media reports, over 21 million SIM cards have yet to be registered.

A statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at State House confirmed Magufuli's decision to extend the deadline, along with the warning that no further extensions will be given.

Magufuli said, "This kind of registration is important for national security and will help to address fraud incidents involving mobile phones. Those who did not make it until now should use this window to secure their identity cards (IDs) and register their SIM cards as required."

In May 2019 TCRA said biometric registration was necessary to eliminate dishonesty among mobile phone users, to control cybercrime and abuse of the country's telecommunications industry.

However, the country's major operators warned that disconnecting subscribers could potentially lower customer growth base

Vodacom Tanzania managing director Hisham Hendi said in September 2019 that failure to extend the registration deadline could negatively impact on the company's operations.

Vodacom Tanzania is the country's largest operator with 32% market share followed by Tigo with 29% and Airtel Tanzania with 25%, according to TCRA.

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