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Mauritania mandates SIM registration process

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Mauritania has joined the list of countries that are mandating a SIM registration process for mobile subscribers.

According to the country's regulator, the Autorité de Régulation Multisectorielle (ARE), mobile service users in the country have until October 6, 2023, to register their SIM cards or have their subscriptions suspended.

To register their SIM cards, subscribers will need a valid ID, which they can present at operators' commercial branches.

Furthermore, the process will also involve recording the biometric data of individuals.

Ecofin Agency reports that the push for mandatory SIM registration is in line with the West African country's implementation of Decision No. 0038 by the National Regulatory Council (CNR), regarding the sale of SIM/USIM cards in the country, which took effect on April 6, 2023.

African SIM registration trend

Many African countries have been requiring their citizens to register their SIMs, arguing that they are part of efforts to curb SIM fraud.

However, SIM registration deadlines have proved hard to enforce in some parts of Africa in recent years. This led to countries like Nigeria and Tanzania pushing back their SIM registration deadlines several times.

To register their SIMs Mauritanian mobile subscribers will need a valid identity document which they can present at any of the operators' commercial branches.   (Source: Image by Freepik)
To register their SIMs Mauritanian mobile subscribers will need a valid identity document which they can present at any of the operators' commercial branches.
(Source: Image by Freepik)

In June 2023, however, Ghana disconnected all services to unregistered SIM cards and only gave users access to numbers linked to SIM registration. That move followed the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) announcing that biometric data will no longer be required for SIM card registration, but subscribers can still voluntarily share biometric information.

In April 2023, the Regulatory Authority for Communications of Mozambique (INCM) announced that it would impose new rules for registering SIM cards for the country's 15 million subscribers to telecommunications services over the next six months.

Mauritania's mobile mix

Completing its SIM card registration process will be good for the West African country, which does not have many mobile phone subscribers.

Furthermore, Moov Mauritel, Mattel and Chinguitel maintain voice and data services in the country.

Market research company Omdia, a sister company of Connecting Africa, estimates that Moov Mauritel had the largest number of subscribers with almost 2.7 million users at the end of the second quarter of 2023.

It is followed by Chinguitel with an estimated 2 million users in the same period, leaving Mattel with almost 1.9 million subscribers.

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*Top image source: Image by Freepik.

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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