Wednesday, January 27, 2021

BTA extends cell phone cut off deadline by 30 days

The Botswana Telecommunications Authority has once again warned that existing cell phone subscribers who would not have registered their cell numbers with their cellular service providers by the end of the newly instituted 30 day extension will be cut off. While the BTA had initially set December 31 as the cutoff date, they extended the deadline by another 30 days to allow the cell phone service providers to capture data into their systems.

The Director of Communications and Public Relations at BTA, Twoba Koontse said the existing subscribers who would have not yet registered by the end of the 30 day extension will be deactivated immediately.

“They will then have to acquire new sim-cards” he said.

Koontse told Sunday Standard that they are planning to institute an audit after the 30 day extension to determine which subscribers are registered and which ones are not.

“The rule is very clear. The extension is for service providers to only capture submitted data into their systems and not make any new registrations. The registration deadline elapsed in December 31st. The only sim-cards that can be registered are the newly bought ones” he said.

Koontse also warned that they will not compromise after the b30 day extension, adding that the onus lies with the service providers to capture the existing data as soon as possible, as the BTA will immediately cut off unregistered sim-cards after the deadline.

But it seems that BTA and the cellphone service providers are giving conflicting sides of the story. While the public relations unit of one of the leading cell phone companies was unavailable to answer Sunday Standard questions, their call center confirmed that cell phone registration is still in full swing, despite BTA’s insistence that it ceased on December 31st.

“Registration is ongoing and customers come to register daily” said the call centre assistant.

Most of the service providers confirmed that they were still capturing data into their system, but could not be drawn into revealing whether they are still registering existing clients or not. It is also unclear how the BTA is monitoring to check if indeed the service providers are registering only new customers and not existing customers.

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