D AYS OF UNREGISTERED SIM cards NUMBERED

AFTER a slow start public campaigns on SIM card registrations have begun in earnest, with cellphone networks going all out to register users.

AFTER a slow start public campaigns on SIM card registrations have begun in earnest, with cellphone networks going all out to register users.

On July 1 the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act of 2008 (Rica) came into effect.

The law requires that a new SIM card only be activated on a cellular network once the user's details are captured. Subscribers must provide proof of residential address and their IDs.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has given all cellular phone network providers 18 months to register all SIM cards in the country.

A person with more than one SIM card has to register all of them. Children under 18 should use their guardian's ID to register SIM cards.

Once the SIM card is registered the information cannot be disclosed without authorisation from a judge.

This also applies to SIM cards bought before July 1 2009 by prepaid customers.

MTN, Vodacom, CellC and Virgin Mobile have embarked on campaigns to educate the public about registering their SIM cards.

Melanie Kidson of Virgin Mobile said the training of staff was in full swing.

"We have trained all our direct channels, Virgin flagship stores, Musica outlets and courier staff on Rica and they are registered as Rica agents," said Kidson.

Bridget Bhengu of MTN said internal training of staff had begun.

"We also have campaigns on radio, TV and in the print media to educate subscribers about the importance of registering," Bhengu said.

MTN has about 17million customers in South Africa.

Bhengu said that unregistered SIM cards would not be activated.

"Contract subscribers will also follow the same registration process, with verification of an ID and residential address," she said.

Without Rica registration no SIM card will be activated on the network.

"Customers can register at retailers, spaza shops and branded stores countrywide," Bhengu said.

Nicolene Visser of Vodacom, which has 23,5million prepaid subscribers and 3,9million on contract, said those with no South African ID can use their passport.

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