Namibia has approved a new regulation that will make SIM card registration mandatory for all mobile subscribers in order to access networks services.
The SIM card registration regulation was given the green-light, following consultations with telecommunications service providers, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) and the director general of the Namibia Central Intelligence Service.
In a statement, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Peya Mushelenga, stressed that the regulation was partly necessitated by Namibia’s increasing crime rate.
“Right now anyone can go into a shop, buy a SIM card, and commit a crime. We are moving towards what is happening in South Africa where one cannot just by a SIM card – it must be registered,” he said.
Once the new regulation is in force, service providers will be required to store all their customers’ information for a period of at least five years from the date of registration.
Also, the Namibian Police or the Namibia Central Intelligence Service will need to obtain authorisation from a judge or magistrate to access the records.
Namibia’s largest mobile network operator (MNO) MTC, noted that it already encourages clients to register their SIMs on a voluntary basis.
A date for the enforcement of the new regulation is yet to be announced.