The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) will begin enforcing the registration of new and existing mobile phone users on 1 March this year, according to local daily New Vision. Customers of wireless services will be given one year to register their SIM with their mobile provider, backed-up with a national identity document such as a passport or driverís licence. Owners of multiple SIMs will need to have all of their lines registered, and those without the required documents will be able to have a family member register on their behalf. SIMs unregistered by the 1 March 2013 cut-off point will be deactivated.
The registration drive aims to reduce phone-based crime, and follows similar projects throughout East Africa in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. As noted by TeleGeographyís GlobalComms Database, at the end of September 2011 Uganda was home to some 16.1 million wireless customers, representing 47.4% of the population.