Over 10 Million Unregistered SIM Cards to be Blocked Today

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More than 10 million unregistered network users will have their SIM cards disabled today, October 31, 2022, if they have not completed Stage 2 of the SIM card registration process.

The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation revealed this in a press release on October 17, 2022.

“All SIM Cards that have been linked to Ghana Cards (i.e. completed Stage 1 registration), but have not completed their Stage 2 registration will be blocked from the end of October.”

Stage 1 involves linking one’s SIM card(s) with the Ghana Card while Stage 2 requires subscribers to verify biometrically either on the Ghana SIM Registration App or at the registration centres.

Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, indicated that this is due to

“These good people have the Ghana card (and) have started the process and (therefore) will be encouraged to complete it with this gentle reminder.” 

The release signed by the Minister also clarified that the grace period provided was not an extension of the deadline “but a temporary moratorium to encourage these individuals to complete the process.”

Details from the Ministry go to imply that individuals who have not commenced the process of registering their SIM cards, possibly due to the absence of a Ghana Card, the sole identification document for the exercise, won’t be affected on Monday.

However, the “other unregistered SIMs will also be blocked progressively,” the statement added.

People whose SIMs will be blocked will be unable to make or receive calls, as well as access data and SMS services until they register their SIM cards in 6 months.

The SIM re-registration exercise commenced in October 2021. From then to October 4, 2022, 28,959,006 SIM cards have been linked to Ghana Cards (Stage 1 registration); representing 67.28% of the 42,749,662 total SIM cards issued nationally.

A total of 18,930,664 SIM cards have been fully registered (completed both Stages 1 and 2), representing 44.28% of the total SIM cards issued. This equates to 69.64% of all Stage 1 registrations.

“13,720,687 unique Counts of Ghana cards have been issued so far for the registration exercise,” the Ministry revealed. 

Ghanaians have expressed opposition to the National Communication Authority’s (NCA) planned SIM blockage. 

Nine people filed a lawsuit in response to this and asked the court to prevent the NCA from enforcing any punitive measures or sanctions, including deactivating, restricting, churning, and/or otherwise limiting their use of mobile phone SIMs and network services, until the case is resolved.

They argue that it would be unfair for SIMs to be blocked as the National Identification Authority (NIA) has been unable to issue all Ghana cards to their respective holders.

The NIA has so far issued 15,826,148 Ghana cards out of the 16,627,325 printed cards from 17,109,627 registrations as of the end of August this year.

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