Potraz threatens cellular phone providers

cellphoneHARARE Zimbabwes telecoms regulator has threatened to impose tough sanctions on any of the countrys three mobile phone providers that fail to ensure its subscribers are registered by the new February 2011 deadline.

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) said mobile phone operators who fail to comply with the requirement to register their subscribers by the extended deadline would be liable to heavy penalties especially if an unregistered line is used in the commission of a crime.

In the event of a subscriber engages in any illegal activities when that subscriber is not registered, the operator will be held responsible, Potraz Director-General Charles Sibanda warned last week.

Potraz extended the exercise to register mobile phone users to 28 February 2011 after telephone subscribers failed to meet an initial August 31 deadline.

Mobile phone users in Zimbabwe are required to register their lines with service providers for security purposes as well as to assist in combating crime.

The regulator said registration of lines would increase security for users, combat criminal activity and abuse of mobile phones.

The Potraz threat would affect Zimbabwes three mobile phone operators Econet Wireless, Telecel Zimbabwe and the state-run NetOne after only 3.8 million subscribers responded to the initial exercise out of about 6.5 million cell phone users in the country.

Sibanda warned that Potraz would impose restrictions on calls and messages to and from unregistered subscribers starting next January as a way of encouraging users to register their lines.

The registration of cell phone lines is not unique to Zimbabwe but has become a requirement all over the world, with South Africa and Kenya having implemented similar policies in recent years.

Post published in: Economy

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