Etisalat and du have given 1.5 million mobile phone users one month to re-register their SIM cards or face disconnection of services for three months.
The October 16 deadline is the first of six three-month phases for more than 12 million mobile phone subscribers in the second largest Arab economy to re-register their SIM cards or face service disconnection.
Etisalat and du, the UAE’s only service providers, said the move is in line with instructions by the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to have all mobile phone users in the country re-register their SIM cards with the aim of updating their personal data in the two companies’ systems.
Newspapers on Saturday quoted service providers as saying 1.5 million subscribers are included in the first three-month stage which began two months ago and ends on October 16. They said Etisalat and du had sent texts to the mobile phones of all those users asking them to register or face disconnection.
“We are sending five messages to our subscribers…if they do not respond and re-register their SIM cards, then a last warning message will be sent to them telling them that they will lose service for three months if they do not have their service re-registered,” said Hassan Al Abdouli, an executive manager at Etisalat’s sales division. “We call upon all users to go to our service centres and get their SIM cards registered again to avoid suspension of service.”
Etisalat and du said they had set up more than 100 registration centres through the emirates to serve customers and that they could be expanded at a later stage to meet an expected rush during the remaining registration phases.
The “my number” process has been ordered by the TRA, which oversees the telecom services in the UAE with the aim of ending malpractices resulting from Sim swap, loss, misuse or being given by their owners to other persons.
“A study conducted by TRA has shown that many SIM card holders give the cards to other people, who abuse them. This is resulting in criminal and civilian offences,” said Mohammed Al Ghanim, TRA Director General.
“Using SIM cards by persons other than their holders could bring real problems to their owners as those persons could be involved in offending or defaming others either through phone calls or texts. We want to put an end to this.”