DAR ES SALAAM, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) — A senior government minister told Tanzanian parliament on Wednesday that phone users who fail to have biometrically registered their SIM cards by the Dec. 31 deadline will not be locked out.
“Phone users will continue enjoying communication services even after the set deadline,” Minister for Home Affairs Kangi Lugola told the House in the capital Dodoma. “No SIM card will be switched off. No one will be denied mobile phone services for not registering.”
Lugola made the statement two days after the east African nation’s communications watchdog announced that over 31 million phone users who have not yet registered biometrically risked being locked out on the Dec. 31 deadline.
Semu Mwakyanjala, acting corporate communications manager of Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), said only 12 million out of 43.75 million mobile phone subscribers have biometrically registered their SIM cards.
Lugola, however, told lawmakers that only between 13 million and 14 million Tanzanians out of a population of 55 million had national identification cards issued by the National Identification Authority (NIDA), a prerequisite for the biometric registration of SIM cards.