TCRA issues advisory to travellers on sim-card retention

Are you planning to travel and stay abroad beyond 90 days? If the answer is “yes” it is time to let your mobile network operators (MNO) know for retention of sim-cards, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has advised.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, the Director General of TCRA, Dr Jabiri Bakari said the mobile phone service users have the right to request the retention of their active SIM cards for a period of three months (90 days) up to one year otherwise they might be reallocated to another subscribers.

The TCRA insisted that the right to retain subscribers’ sim-cards is granted under the Communication Regulations but to enjoy it, users should notify their respective mobile service providers.

Dr Bakari said there were several reasons that might force users to request for retention of the sim-card which include, but not limited to travel and illness.

Based on the mentioned scenario and others, the director added, users are required to preserve their sim-cards through contacting the service providers and upon their return; they will be able to reactivate them.

“Users can easily inform their service providers about their intended non-usage of a specific SIM card for more than 90 days up to one year, by notifying the service provider in advance.

“Users can prevent the sale of their phone line to another customer, if the Sim-card remains inactive for more than 90 days and beyond without notification to service providers it can be reissued to another user,” said Dr Bakari.

Explaining the importance of preserving phone lines and their associated numbers as valuable communication resources, the TCRA Chief noted: “…in the event of a loss, it is necessary to report the incident to the nearest police station. Once the loss has been reported and appropriate documentation provided by the police, the mobile network operator (MNO) will issue a replacement SIM card to the user.”

As a part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at enhancing public awareness, the regulator has joined forces with TCRA Communications Consumer Council (TCRA-CCC) and Mobile network Operators to provide education and information to the public regarding responsible management of phone number resources.

The Electronic and Postal Communications (Sim-Card Registration) Regulations, 2023, specifically Section 25(1), alongside Section 4(1) and 9(1)(c) of the Electronic and Postal Communications (Electronic Communication Numbering and Addressing) Regulations, outline provisions for transferring ownership of a sim-card from its original proprietor in the event of non-usage for ninety consecutive days.

“These regulations not only address sim card ownership but also encompass comprehensive guidelines pertaining to the management and allocation of phone numbers, among other important aspects,” added Jabiri.

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