“Operators have a directive from the Commission to comply with the same directive. If a party is dissatisfied by the compliance actions of a Telecom operator, they can seek redress from the Commission,” said Bbosa.
UCC Directed Deregistration of Corporate-owned SIM Cards Over Violation of New Guidelines
continue to disconnect mobile telephone lines that are assigned to corporate
organisations which have failed to comply with the guidelines issued last year.
The regulator says
they have received complaints alleging failure and/or refusal by operators to
adhere to the set SIM card registration processes, especially in respect of SIM
cards sold to corporate customers.
Other unnatural persons
include trusts duly incorporated or registered under the Trustees Incorporation
Act Cap 165, Embassies, Foreign Missions and Consulates, duly recognised in
The companies issued warnings
starting March through April to the SIM Card holders, about the impending the
disconnection, and they have now taken the move to disconnect the non-compliant
holders, in line with the UCC guidelines.
“Airtel Uganda is a compliant company hence we have implemented the directive of the Regulator – Uganda
Communications Commission,” said Sumin Namaganda, Airtel Public Relations Manager, declining to give further details.
In June 2020, UCC directed
telecom companies to temporarily suspend the sale of Sim cards to companies,
NGOs and public institutions pending investigations into allegations of fraud
in Sim card registration, especially regarding corporate bodies.
“The suspension is to
avert the risk of further breach of the law pending the conclusion of the
ongoing investigations”, said Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, UCC Executive Director.
Sewankambo said that
because the UCC Act allowed corporate organisations to have unlimited numbers
of SIM Cards, it was difficult to control crime committed with the aid of
“However, it is
alleged that unscrupulous individuals took advantage of this loophole to submit
fake company documents to providers on the basis of which they got multiple SIM
cards registered,” said Sewankambo.
SIM card registration
for individual customers was not affected by this regulatory action.
In august 2020, the
commission and the telecom operators proposed guidelines to be used in
streamlining this business segment.
This led to the
lifting of the suspension on sale and registration of SIM cards to unnatural
“As the Commission
concludes the development of operational guidelines for Corporate SIM Card
registration in Uganda, the Commission has, in accordance with its statutory
mandate under sections 5(1)(b) & (j), 39, 48 and schedule 6(I)(K) of the
Uganda Communications Act 2013 and Section 9 of the Regulation of Interception
of Communications Act 2010, lifted the suspension on the sale of SIM
Cards to unnatural persons including corporate bodies, subject to
strict compliance with the following conditions:”
guidelines issued compel the operator to obtain from the client details that
include a certified copy of the organisation’s certificate of incorporation or operating
certificate from the relevant regulator.
include certified particulars of directors, a copy of the National ID of the
CEO, the registered address of the organisation, its Tax Identification Number,
and a letter on the organisation’s letterhead signed by the CEO authorizing the
purchace of the SIM Cards and the purpose for which they are being acquired.
telecom operator is then required to search at the respective registration agencies
like the NGO Bureau or the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, to ascertain
the authenticity of the details supplied by the customer, at the customer’s
“For the avoidance of
doubt, the procedure for corporate SIM Card registration shall not include
registration and Sale of SIM Cards to Partnerships, Firms, Sole proprietorships
and registered business names,” the guideline say, adding that such business
owners shall be asked to buy SIMs in their personal names.
guidelines also bar the telecoms from issuing a SIM Card to or cards to an
organisation, where the card is to be used by an individual or employee of the organisation.
telecom operator must decline to register the SIM Card as a corporate
registration and instead advise the individual intended to use the SIM Card to
be the one to acquire it in his or her name using his National ID for
Ugandans, or Passport for foreigners”.
guidelines now limit the number of SIM Cards an organisation can buy from a
telecom operator to 100, unless express permission is provided by the UCC.
applies whether the Cards are acquired at once or cumulatively over a period of
telecom companies were then given 30 days to develop their own guidelines on
registration and sale of SIM Cards to corporations.
also had 90 days to audit their database to harmonise and align it with this
the end of the period in March, telecoms started sending warning messages to
the SIM Card holders to comply with the new directive and guidelines, before
the companies started disconnecting them.
Spokesman Ibrahim Bbosa says any client who is not satisfied with the telecom’s
actions should complain to the regulator.
have a directive from the Commission to comply with the same directive and if a
party is dissatisfied by the compliance actions of a Telecom operator, they can
seek redress from the Commission,” said Bbosa.
All the major active telecoms
refused to divulge any figures about the affected clients or lines.