Simcard registration process too flawed to achieve intended purpose [Daily Monitor, The (Uganda)]
(Daily Monitor, The (Uganda) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) In a matter of hours, non-registered simcards will be switched off. This process that began 12 months ago is far from completion despite the deadline. Telecom companies are panicking because they could lose subscribers.
From the on-set, almost all telecom companies did not set aside enough resources and effort to complete the process on time. For instance, no single telecom company recruited or set a side an independent department to take charge of subscriber registration. This meant that front desk employees, trade development executives and a few other client interfacing employees had to take on the added duty of registering subscribers with no salary increment or a commensurate commission.
In due course, an army of foot and van 'warriors' mainly comprising of senior four and six holiday makers were recruited to attack customers for registration at an average of Shs600 to Shs1000 commission payable per person registered.
None of these 'soldiers' received a monthly retainer pay and with a piece rate method, they invented ways of indirectly increasing their pay. So despite the registration exercise being free of charge, these 'soldiers 'charge an illegal fee ranging from Shs1000 to Shs2000 to have some subscribers registered and sell citizen/ Local Council Identity cards at an average of Shs2000 and punctuate them with wrong client information all in a hurry to meet their daily commission target.
This has raised ethical concerns and complaints with some subscribers registering multiple times in vain.
So, won't telecom companies be sued by subscribers who registered but will be switched off after the deadline If so, they might have to pay and this will be in addition to the huge resources they have committed to this exercise like hiring or buying marketing vans, fuel expenses, and commission fees, expenses on adverts etc, and yet the registration is not a revenue generating stream.
Even up to now, many people and organisations are not aware that their office fixed telephone lines also have to be registered.
These circumstances make the simcard registration process so fraudulent, flawed and unlikely to fulfill its original intentions and objectives.
Therefore, Uganda Communications Commission and government should consider extending the registration deadline to at least end of this year, compel telecom companies to register every new subscriber on-spot (some companies have still been able to give out operational simcards without necessarily registering them). UCC should carry out countrywide sensitisation tours.
Otherwise, switching off non-registered simcards as per the end of February 2013 deadline may have serious economic and social implications.Ivan Mafigiri Kanyeheyo,firstname.lastname@example.org
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