Uganda links SIMs to biometric database
14 May 2018 15:24 GMT

Uganda’s ICT regulators and other stakeholders have been tasked to ensure that SIM card purchases and registration processes adhere to strict guidelines. 

Telecom operators must only register or replace SIM cards with the help of electronic biometric card readers.

The devices were provided by the nation’s National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and are able to perform real-time verification of subscriber information with the National Identity Database.

Any person in need of a new SIM card (or replacement/upgrade) must visit a registration station in person with his/her ID. This means that remote replacements or purchases, where a third party picks a SIM card for another person, are no longer allowed. Locally, this is common especially for minors who register their SIM cards with a parent’s/guardian’s ID.

Secondly, operators must verify subscriber data and authenticity using the card reader device, as well as live biometrics with biometrics on the ID in real time with the aforementioned NIRA database. Thirdly, and for the first time, applicants will be required to submit a fresh photograph. If real-time verification fails, then the operator is advised to halt the registration process until the issue is fixed.