Lesotho has joined the rush to register SIM cards, threatening that mobile network users who fail to comply with the legal registration of SIM cards will be cut off until they do so.
As is the case with most other countries introducing such laws, Lesotho’s Communications (Subscriber Identity Module Registration) Regulations 2021 seek to enable easy identification of a mobile number user. The stated aim of these regulations, according to the Lesotho Times, is to curb criminal activities involving the use of mobile devices and SIM cards by anonymous users.
The process kicks off on 24 June and has to be completed within 12 months. Lesotho’s two mobile operators, Vodacom and Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL), say they are at an advanced stage of putting up the infrastructure needed to enable the registration of SIM cards for all users.
In fact Vodacom believes it will be ready to start SIM registration by early June and is planning a pilot SIM registration to ensure its systems are ready for the nationwide rollout of the scheme.
It also says it is working on user authorisation testing (UAT) for its registration system, and that this will be ready by the end of May 2022. It is hiring additional employees to help with the registration process.
ETL says it too will be ready and hopes to wrap up the registration process well within the allotted timeframe. Its system aims to verify the authenticity of a user’s ID card in real time through an interface with the national Identity and Civil Registry at the Home Affairs Ministry.
Despite this relatively assured response from operators, it does seem as though the new regulations had a slow passage to acceptance, initially being rejected by parliament until thorough public consultations were carried out.