x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

3 million mobile phone services suspended in UAE as subscribers miss sim card deadlines

A nationwide campaign to get mobile phone subscribers to re-register their sim cards is entering its fifth phase but customers will now be able to do so online.

So far three million customers have had their mobile services suspended in the UAE for missing their sim card deadline. Pawan Singh / The National
So far three million customers have had their mobile services suspended in the UAE for missing their sim card deadline. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // A nationwide campaign to get mobile phone subscribers to re-register their sim cards has entered its fifth phase with customers now able to complete the process online.

The 'My Number, My Identity" campaign aims to tackle the fraudulent use of sim cards by linking them with their owner.

So far mobile phone operators du and Etisalat have suspended almost three million mobile phone subscribers who have failed to reregister.

The campaign was launched in July last year and has seen 12 million people sign up, according to the latest figures released by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

"The campaign focuses on the procedures that will be taken by the TRA in order to ensure the transparency in dealing with mobile subscribers and protecting their privacy if misuse occurs by users who use mobile services not registered under their names," said Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA director general.

"According to latest statistics registered during August, more than 12 million subscribers have registered and updated their data packages.

"This number continues to increase as more subscribers register."

Du and Etisalat have been contacting mobile phone customers via SMS alerts urging them to register their sim cards.

The process has been done in phased batches to make it manageable for the two carriers.

The fifth batch of registrations is the penultimate phase for the campaign with approximately four million users left to register.

The registration campaign is expected to end at the beginning of next year.

"The licensees suspended the service for almost three million subscribers who were late in updating their information during the last phases of the campaign," said Mr Al Ghanim.

Customers who have received an SMS alert but do not register within 90 days will not be able to make outgoing calls or send text messages.

If they fail to register after another 90 days, their phones will be completely blocked. Phones can be unblocked as soon as the sim card is registered.

The TRA is also urging both telecoms companies to provide more facilities to make it easier for subscribers to register.

"TRA encourages e-registration and encourages the licensees (Etisalat and Du) to make sure the facility is available to e-register which goes in line with the new registration procedures and to smoothly facilitate the process," said Mr Al Ghanim.

So far only Etisalat allows subscribers to fill in a registration form online.

Companies can also contact either mobile provider to arrange for workplace registration visits making it easier to register large numbers of people.

Alternatively people can register at any du or Etisalat outlet in the UAE in person but must bring identification including National ID cards, a valid passport, residency visa or GCC identity card.

Customers who have not received a text message can register in the same way.

 

nhanif@thenational.ae