Local cellular operators all over the country were, during the festive season, struggling to service thousands of customers who had practically camped outside their premises in a last minute frenzy to register their cell numbers ahead of the December 31st deadline, stipulated by the Botswana Telecommunications Authority.
The situation was so dire that a number of Batswana failed to fill in the registration forms before the deadline, and many still remain at risk of getting disconnected.
After remaining steadfast that they would not extend the registration deadline, the BTA capitulated to pressure and extended the deadline to January 31st 2010. BTA spokesperson, Aaron Nyelesi, on Friday confirmed that they had extended the date to cell phone service providers to register/capture data into their systems.
“By December 31st last year, our figures indicated that 85% of local cell phone users had registered. 45% of those had not been captured into the system, while 15% had not registered at all,” said Nyelesi.
He also said that the BTA was forced to extend the deadline because the cell phone companies had not captured most of the data that they had obtained from their clients.
“We are presently converting information that we captured from paper to electronic database. After the process is complete we will then cut the customers who have not registered from the network”, he said.
Peo Porogo, Marketing Intelligence Executive at Orange said they stopped registering sim cards on December 31st.
“We are presently capturing customers’ information into the system. BTA gave us up to January 31st to finish capturing information,” she said. She however said they do not stop new customers from registering new sim cards.
Porogo told Sunday Standard that they could not meet the deadline for capturing all the information because some customers went away with the forms and they have only started bringing them back after the festive season.
“Some people took forms to their relatives, disabled people who could not come to register in person,” she said.