Ban on Sale and Replacement of Sim Cards lifted, new guidelines issued


Following the Minister of ICT, Frank Tumwebaze’s announcement, Uganda Communications Commision has lifted the ban on sale and replacement of SIM cards in Uganda. This comes after Ugandan telecommunications companies were advised by UCC to immediately cease the sale of SIM cards through hawkers, street vendors, street agents and any other establishments that are not licensed by Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) or other municipal and town authorities.

In the wake of today, after a couple of resolutions by the Uganda Communications Commission, new guidelines have been issued as regards the replacement, and acquisition of a new sim card. They Include;

-A customer seeking to acquire, Upgrade or replace a SIM Card must physically appear and present his/her original National ID to an operator’s designated customer care agent at a designated customer care centre or registration point.

-The Operator must verify the authenticity of the National ID card using an Electronic Biometric Card reader, match the applicant’s live biometrics with biometrics on the card, and obtain real-time verification with the NIRA database through the API.

-The Operator must obtain a fresh Photograph of the applicant

-The Operator must register the applicant for the SIM Card and ensure that the applicant expressly gives authority to the Telecom Operator to access and match his/her details with the National Identification Database maintained by NIRA.

-The Operator must retain a record of all registration details of the applicants. With regards to lost SIM Cards, the applicant must present a valid letter from the Uganda Police Force confirming the loss of the customers Sim Card.

According to government officials, the enactment of the Registration of Persons Act 2015 makes the national ID a mandatory document to use for any form of registration services, SIM card registration inclusive.  Operators have tested readiness to conduct real-time online verification of customer’s information with the NIRA database and have been fully allowed to resume sale of SIM Cards.