High Court squashes SIM card registration deadline

Mobile telephone subscribers spent the whole Easter weekend struggling to get their SIM card details registered with their respective carriers. UCC was dragged to court by Norman Tumuhimbise, an activist working for Rights Trumpet Ltd on 18th April and by evening the High Court had granted a restraining order against the exercise which was due to end on Thursday 20th April.

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) had issued a seven-day period during which all subscribers has to register or verify the registration of SIM cards using strickly National ID for the locals and Passports for non-Ugandans or be switched off.

“An interim order restrains the respondent and the telecommunication service providers from enforcing or implementing the directive of Sim card subscriber details update/verification by Thursday April 20 or recognizing the National Identity card as the sole document of identity—until the final determination of the main application for a temporary injunction,” the court order to the UCC and telecom companies reads.

The court will on Wednesday April 19 hear this case is seeking to stop UCC from implementing the directive.
The plaintiff also wants the court to review UCC’s requirement that requires all Ugandan of age to register their SIM card using a national identity card and passports for foreigners. Refugees were also expected to obtain certification from the Prime Minister’s office before their SIM cards are verified within the stipulated seven days, raising concerns among various groups.
The Uganda Law Society for example has argued that it would make sense if the registration was extended so that it takes at least three months.