Namibia Declares Mandatory Sim Registration Deadline

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A biometric system is a piece of technology that collects and analyzes biometric data to identify a person positively. The biometric identification system confirms a person’s identity by using a unique biological trait, most often a fingerprint. Biometric SIM/RIUM card verification not only validates ownership credentials but also instills a sense of responsibility in cardholders. Governments throughout the world have made prepaid SIM/RIUM registration mandatory in the belief that it would improve the effectiveness of law enforcement and anti-terrorism activities. Governments can use biometric technology and SIM card verification to assess teledensity and active lines. The information provided by mobile phone carriers ensures tax revenue.

Mandatory sim registration in Namibia

According to the Namibia Economist, the Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) requires all Namibians to register their SIM cards with government-issued picture identity between January 1 and December 31, 2023. SIM cards that have yet to be activated will cease to function after 2024 if they have not been registered. The CRAN launched a SIM card registration drive in June 2022. According to RegTech Africa, the nation’s Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) began voluntary registration the next month. Chief Executive Officer Emilia Nghikembua recently expressed satisfaction with the campaign’s current development, telling the Namibia Economist that the body is satisfied with the outcomes thus far. They have a universally low rate of acceptance the people in general. However, according to Nghikembua, “at this time, we estimate all SIM card registration will be completed well within the statutory deadlines, i.e., December 31, 2023.”

This would be a significantly different course from that taken by nations like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania, all of which have implemented SIM registration. The governments believed that rapid I.D. enrollment would encourage people to register their SIM cards, which would help combat fraud and crime and improve national security. However, the goals have been dashed by a series of rolling deadline extensions. Before providing service, each of Namibia’s seven mobile service providers requires customers to present a national I.D. or passport and proof of address. In addition, the MTC announced “Verifi” in December 2020, which uses face and fingerprints to authenticate users but is not a part of the official SIM registration push.

Will Namibia suffer due to not employing biometrics? 

SIM Registration Awareness Activation Campaigns were carried out by CRAN in all of the country’s major cities. In addition, it held panel discussions and interviews with the public in order to inform them of the advantages of SIM Card Registration. In collaboration with mobile carriers, CRAN has also established a SIM Registration Committee to evaluate readiness before implementing mandatory registration and any problems that may arise during the registration process.

Therefore, CRAN urges all consumers to register their SIM cards to benefit from a wide range of high-quality, trustworthy, and efficient telecommunications services our licensees provide, according to Nghikembua. As previously stated, they will not utilize ‘Verifi’ for sim registration, which may come back to haunt them in the future. Registration by I.D. and passport is still a good start, but incorporating biometrics would have effectively ended the program. Employing biometrics for sim registration might add complexity and management challenges. As a result, several governments worldwide are turning to biometrics turnkey solutions for such projects. Please contact us if you want more information about the biometric turnkey project.



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