Low turnout at MTC, TN SIM registration points

EMPTY … One MTC retail shop in Windhoek was empty following the extension of the SIM card registration deadline to 31 March. Photo: MTC

Following the extension of the SIM card registration deadline by the government last year to 31 March, mobile telecommunications operators have observed a low turnout of customers registering their SIM cards.

The deadline for SIM registration, which was slated for 31 December 2023, was extended by the government following a public outcry of long queues at registration points.

Users who haven’t registered their SIM cards are facing deactivated cards.

Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) spokesperson John Ekongo on Tuesday urged customers to register their SIM cards.
Ekongo said MTC strongly urges the public to discard the tendency of waiting until the last minute and advised the public to take full advantage of the extended period to register all remaining unregistered SIM cards.

He lamented the reluctance of the public following the extension, resulting in the low turnout at registration points.

“We have noticed that the public is not taking advantage of the opportunity to register their SIM cards, as most of our MTC retail stores and enrolment centres in certain areas are empty or with a handful of people turning up,” Ekongo said.

“To avoid last minute frustration and the SIM card disconnectivity risk, we urge the public to take advantage of the remaining added time to register their SIM cards – before the 31 March 2024 deadline,” he said.

He added that MTC is working with regional leaders to continue increasing accessibility to SIM card registration, especially for those in remote areas.

“We are working with regional leaders such as governors and councillors’ offices in taking registration services closer to the people, especially those far from urban areas.

“Our efforts are ongoing, with more recruited mobile teams getting deployed in the regions as of February 2024. This is in addition to our online registration platform and fixed points such as our mobile homes and other centres.”

To date, MTC has managed to register 1 345 896 SIM cards, with 585 197 active SIM cards pending registration before the set deadline.

On the other hand, Telecom Namibia spokesperson Ndapewa Neshila said the initial stages of the registration process, especially in the two weeks leading up to the deadline, saw a significant surge in customer volume.

Neshila added that they then promptly responded by maximising their manpower to effectively accommodate the demand.

“While activity has slowed down in the new year, we are actively addressing this through our awareness campaigns. We are committed to providing ample opportunity for everyone to register.

“In the next two months, we will be maximising our registration efforts to ensure all our customers have the chance to comply,” Neshila said.

According to her, Telecom currently serves approximately 449 865 clients on their mobile network.

To date, 291 272 of these clients had registered their SIM cards by the beginning of this year.

With only two months remaining until the registration deadline, Telecom has urged its customers to act promptly and avoid last-minute delays.

“The benefits of registering your SIM card far outweigh any inconvenience. SIM card registration is not simply a formality; it’s a critical step towards building a safer, more secure and ultimately more enjoyable telecoms experience for everyone,” she said.

Neshila said by registering a SIM card, one is contributing to a trifecta of benefits which includes enhanced security through reduced illegal activity and streamlined customer service with faster issue resolution.

Others include unwavering privacy protection of confidential information.

“This simple step safeguards both our network and the entire Namibian community, ensuring a smoother, safer and more enjoyable telecoms experience for everyone,” Neshila added.

She said the process is simple and the benefits are undeniable.

“Together, let’s build a robust and secure digital landscape where all Namibians can connect, communicate and thrive with confidence,” Neshila said.

Ministry of Information and Communication Technology executive director Audrin Mathe said the minister, Peya Mushelenga, will make a statement regarding the matter tomorrow

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