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Zimbabwe Mobile Providers Disconnect 2 Million Users for Non-Registration

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Registration was required under an international mandate for all phone users to be identified to prevent the use of mobiles by terrorists and criminals, a protocol set by international telecommunications authorities

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe says some 2 million mobile users have been disconnected for failing to personally register their SIM cards by a deadline at the end of February of this year.

Registration was required under an international mandate for all phone users to be identified to prevent the use of mobiles by terrorists and criminals, a protocol followed by many telecommunications authorities through out the world.

POTRAZ said the number of mobile users has declined 18 percent since March. Mobile sector analysts called the steep drop alarming after years of very strong growth.

Number one provider Econet disrupted service to more than 1.4 million subscribers, state-run NetOne disconnected 300,000 and Telecel cut off 692,000 users.

Mobile providers said subscribers who have been disconnected can still register their SIM cards and restore service. But some users said they were cut off although they had tried to comply by following instructions from their cellular phone providers.

NetOne spokesperson Rutendo Chabururuka said the company provided users with a mobile application to register. She suggested to VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that those disconnected may not have successfully carried out the registration procedure..

Disconnected mobile customers may also provide their identification information through retail outlets selling phones and mobile service packages.

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