It is now officially 50 days to go for all mobile subscribers to register their SIM cards with their Mobile Service Providers as per ZICTA Statutory Instrument No.65 of 2011 issued on 28th June 2011. The Zambian Regulatory body has been running a reminder on the front page of the Government-run ‘Times of Zambia’ as well as radio spots in form of a jingle sang by local Musicians – namely, Runnel.
In the background, they have organised a mobile Team that goes with MSP reps to register people in rural and outlying areas, in the hope that the exercise will get a better response rate. As for the MSPs, they have run print, outdoor and other media of advertising to get their customers to ensure they register their SIM cards.
The gaps in technology across MSPs in how they are capturing the data collected. The time lags in registration confirmation, from time of submitting the form, and the absence of a well-defined, standard process for registering SIM cards has characterised the exercise. For customers on different networks, the user experience is different especially those that have multiple SIM cards for different devices and/or for different networks.
For the Regulator, the success or failure of this Know Your Customer (KYC) exercise, in a post 9/11 world will only highlight the lack of controls or oversight the Regulator has in ensuring compliance from Operators. A Ministerial Statement does not do much in allaying fears for customers who queued up to register, as the numbers quoted show that the Operators still have work to do.
MTN seems to have got the technology right, and with their many people out there they have registered 2.46 Million customers. Airtel, seems to have lost its market-leadership and innovativeness, have only registered 1.7 Million customers, on a paper-only basis. Zamtel, started the process late – and had a reported 352, 753 customers KYCed at the time of the Press Statement.
So for MTN customers, dial *338# to check registration status or *121# on Airtel. No way of checking status, as far as we know from Zamtel. If you have registered your SIM card(s), or are yet to for one reason or another, do let us know your experience.