Lending a cell phone SIM card to a family member is okay in the United Arab Emirates, but users need to realize they still are responsible for its network activity, said the Director General of the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Mohammad Al Ganem, in a recent interview with Gulfnews.com.
The TRA is rolling out a new campaign, “My Number, My Identity,” alerting users of new registration requirements in the UAE for all new and used SIM cards. TRA is partnering with licensees etisalat and du on the campaign.
“18 months from now,” said Al Ganem in the Gulfnews.com article, “owners of the SIMs which were issued under their names will bear the consequences of any misuse that may occur by giving their SIM cards to family members or even friends.”
New SIM card purchases will require personal documents, passport and national ID to complete registration, and users with preexisting SIM cards must register within the next 18 months or their cards will be deactivated, according to Al Ganem.
The new registration procedure is intended to protect user rights against fraud, bad debt and criminal cases, he noted.
Users still can have any number of SIM cards they want, but the program aims at curbing the common practice of giving cards to friends and family members without regard for the legal liabilities still attached to the SIM card owner.
“We have reported cases which result in legal and financial issues between family members — the actual owner and the actual user of the SIM cards,” he explained. “Mobile subscribers can give away their SIM cards to their family member or to any one, but should keep in mind that they should be responsible enough to protect themselves from any problems that may occur because of misusing these numbers.”
Recognizing that SIM cards are often used by people other than the purchaser, TRA has also instituted new procedures to facilitate the process of transferring SIM cards from their actual owners to the actual users.
“This will help protect the actual owner of the number from any problems that may occur because of misusing these numbers besides allowing the actual user to benefit from the wide range of services provided to facilitate connectivity through mobile phones,” Al Ganem added.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo