Zambia’s Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has raided MTN and Airtel offices on the Copperbelt over pre-registered SIM cards that are allegedly being sold to the public.
Hundreds of pre-registered SIM cards are believed to have been confiscated by ZICTA from the two mobile operators.
Authorities made the move after reports surfaced claiming that MTN and Airtel were selling pre-registered SIM cards to the public by, in direct contravention of Zambian law on the registration of electronic communication apparatus.
ZICTA public relations manager Ngabo Nankonde said the authority is still investigating the matter and that it will soon take action against the two operators for breaching the law.
MTN is Zambia’s largest telecom operator with over 50% of the country telecom market followed by Airtel Zambia.
In August last year the country’s three mobile operators were issued with a warning of possible legal action should they be involved in selling active SIM cards.
Nankonde said selling of pre-registered SIM cards was against the statutory instrument (bylaw) number 65 of 2011, which stipulates that a seller shall on the sale of a SIM card ensure that a purchaser completes and submit to the seller a SIM card registration form.
“ZICTA will not relent in its effort to ensure security in the use of ICTs in the country. Criminals and criminal organisation syndicates can easily take advantage of such and conceal their identity by using illegitimate SIM cards,” Nankonde said.
So far, attempts to solicit comment from both MTN and Airtel have proven unsuccessful.