Two million subscribers switched off

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Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) says at least 2,1 million Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe subscribers were disconnected for failure to register their sim cards.

Figures obtained from the regulatory body on Friday showed that Econet had 1,4 million disconnected while 700 000 were Telecel subscribers.

No figures could be obtained for the third mobile operator, Net One. Potraz had set March 31 as the deadline for registration.

The country is estimated to have nine million mobile phone subscribers. Potraz director-general Engineer Charles Sibanda recently told NewsDay the registration of mobile phone users was being done in almost every country.

The regulator says registration will help in the fight against crime.

“Anyone who has been disconnected should not cry foul because we have given people ample time to register their lines, but some were not taking us seriously,” said Sibanda.

“Activation of disconnected SIM cards is continuous so that subscribers who are willing to activate their SIM cards should do so.”

Last year in August, Potraz issued a directive for mobile operators to register their post- and pre-paid mobile users to combat criminal activities and abuse of mobile telecommunications.

According to international research firm IHS Global Insight, requiring mobile phone users to register their details has the potential to stall growth in the telecommunications sector.

The international economic forecast think-tank warned that the regulatory requirement might jeopardise the goal of access to mobile phone service for all.