People found using unregistered SIM cards after 30th September, 2018 will face a fine of K5 million, it has been revealed.
The Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee in conjunction with the Media & ICT committee revealed this at a press briefing on Tuesday.
According to Legal Affairs Committee Chairperson Maxwell Thyolela, the Communications Act of 2016 requires any SIM card user to register the card with an authorized distributor, agent or dealer of the phone company.
“Section 94 of the Act makes it an offence for any person to use an unregistered SIM card or generic number. The punishment for this offence is K5 million and imprisonment for 5 years. It is therefore very important that every subscriber must register his number or SIM card to be on the right side of the law,” he said.
Mobile phone companies are currently registering SIM cards as directed by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA). The deadline for the registration is September 30 and after that day all unregistered SIM cards will be deactivated.
Thyolera advised people in the country to register their SIM cards since mobile service providers will be forced to disconnect unregistered SIM cards when deadline the passes.
“As a Committee we strongly urge MACRA to punish operators that will fail to comply with the deactivation deadline of 1st October,” Thyolera said.
He added that the registration is aimed at protecting subscribers from criminals who use unregistered SIM cards to trick and swindle people.
From October 1, any person who buys a new SIM card will need to first register with the mobile service provider before using it.
Subscribers can know if they registered or not by dialing *122# for those on Airtel while TNM subscribers should dial *277#.