Vodacom Tanzania PLC has today announced that 157,000 of its customers have been barred from accessing services after failing to register their Sim Cards biometrically. This follows Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority’s (‘TCRA’) order to all operators to switch off non-biometrically registered phone lines as of January 20, 2020.
Announcing today, Vodacom’s Managing Director - Hisham Hendi - urged customers affected by the move to visit Vodacom’s over 35,000 service points across the country in order to register their lines and continue using the company’s services. “Our shops in major towns will continue to stay open for 24 hours a day /7 days a week in order to accommodate customers who have National ID Numbers (NINs) and who want to biometrically register their lines in order to continue using our services including M-Pesa”.
He added that only those customers that have received NINs from NIDA but have failed to register their lines ahead of the said deadline have been affected by yesterday’s exercise. “Given that the exercise to biometrically register one’s sim card is an ongoing one, those customers without NINs should visit a NIDA office close to them in order to get one and eventually biometrically register their sim cards at any of our service points to avoid any inconveniences” he added.
“As a public listed company Vodacom adheres to laws and regulations of the Government of Tanzania and it’s institutions. This regulation is important for all stakeholders as it makes for good practice around know your customer protections” he said.
Hendi added that the exercise will help in reducing the number of fraudsters as every use can be identified by one’s unique finger prints, “using unique fingerprints will ensure that everyone is known, thus making it easier to combat conmen in our community,” detailed Hendi.
For her part, the Director for Customer Services, Ms. Harriet Lwakatare said “Customers can dial *152*00# or send messages to short code number 15096 to check for their NINs before approaching Vodacom for biometric registration. For those who have been barred or (in the near future) be affected by this ongoing exercise, they should not worry about the content on their sim cards as they will be intact for a period of 6 months until they are biometrically registered,” she said.
‘Barred customers can access our digital channels and various self-help channels for more information on how to progress their registration status,” concluded Ms. Lwakatare
Early last year, the Government under TCRA ordered all SIM card holders to be registered biometrically. Biometrics are becoming increasingly used as a Know Your Customer (KYC) tool for keeping fraudsters out of customer bases for telecoms as well other industries in the world.