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Biometric Registration of SIM Cards and Other Changes On the Way 

Biometric Registration of SIM Cards and Other Changes On the Way 

The Regulatory Authority for Communications of Mozambique (INCM) intends to impose new rules for registering SIM cards for all 15 million subscribers to telecommunications services in Mozambique over the next six months.

The new regulations aim to promote the responsible use of public telecommunications services and associated equipment, contributing to the security and quality of services in telecommunications networks.

The rules are supported by Decree 13/2023 of April 11, which approves the Regulation on the Registration of Telecommunications Services.

The new Regulation establishes norms for subscriber registration to telecommunications services to be observed by the operators of these services, their distributing agents and/or resellers, public and private entities, and natural persons who own and use communication devices.

At a seminar to publicise the regulation attended by representatives of telecommunications operators and banks in Maputo yesterday, INCM data scientist Reinaldo Zezela explained the new rules.

One of these, he highlighted, is that the subscriber must provide biometric data (fingerprints and facial recognition) as well as identification documents such as identity card, driving licence, passport etc. at the time of registration.

The new regulation also mandates the registration of communication devices and of distribution agents and resellers.

“The use of biometrics aims to allow easy identification of the perpetrators of crimes in the sector, who today, due to lack of this information, commit fraud, with us left unable to identify or recognise them. So we want that data to make sure that we are dealing with the right person or a legitimate subscriber,” Zezela explained.

Subscribers will henceforth have a Unique Telecommunications Number (NUTEL) generated by the INCM for the unique identification of any subscriber regardless of the operator.

The INCM will have two databases, one of which will store all the identification information of subscribers, distributors and/or resellers, SIM cards and information on communication devices throughout the telecommunications network in Mozambique. The other database, called the Risk Centre (a blacklist) will store information on fraud or suspected fraud by a subscriber, as well as all data on cases of blocking and other impediment to the use of telecommunications networks.

According to Zezela, these databases can be accessed by telecommunications operators in the country, and even by banks, upon payment of fees ranging from 0.10 to 20 meticais for each registration. He also clarified that the amount charged will serve to support the expenses for the implementation, operationalization and operation of the same databases.

Zezela observed that the decree approving the regulation in question also provides for sanctions on subscribers as well as telecommunications operators in Mozambique.

Subscribers who do not comply with the new SIM card registration rules may, among other penalties, be listed as suspected of fraudulent practices at the Risk Centre, until their effective involvement is clarified, and prevented from accessing services. Operators who violate the rules will be subject to sanctions or fines ranging from 500 to 3,000 times the minimum wage, while distribution agents will be subject to a penalty or fine ranging from 10 to 20 times the minimum wage.

These new registration rules for accessing telecommunications come into force in a country where more than half of the population lives in rural areas, a fact that will challenge the INCM to implement the decree in the next six months.

Meanwhile, Zezela said the institution was investing in technology as well as human capital to meet this challenge.

“Otherwise, the institution will ask the government to extend the deadline, but we are obligated to have the registration of subscribers based on the new rules within the next six months,” the source said.

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After the publication of the Decree in the Bulletin of the Republic on the 11th of April, the institution has 30 days for the elaboration of the technical norm, allowing the Regulation to be operationalized.

During the event, ‘Carta’ asked a representative if the mobile telephone operator was satisfied with the norms expressed in the new decree. Assigned to the legal area at Movitel, Wilson Chume explained that the new regulation brought many advantages such as the automation of registration.

“It also allows operators to send through the registration in real time so that they can quickly use the communication services they want to access through that registration,” he said. “Another advantage has to do with the fact that the registration of distribution agents or resellers is mandatory. With this we have information on where the registration of subscribers was carried out so that, in the event of possible fraud, the agent can be identified in order to ascertain what really happened with a particular customer.”

For Chume, other advantages relate to the Risk Centre, where suspected cases of fraud will be recorded. He also noted the reliability of the registration process, with biometrics and facial recognition validating information provided by the subscriber, he said.

Carta de Moçambique


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