True to its word, the Botswana Telecommunications Authority says it has directed all the mobile┬áphone companies┬áto cut-off services to pre paid subscribers that did not register their sim cards.
About 285,398 users have not registered after the deadline of December 31, 2009.
“We are going to make sure that all those who have not registered are taken off air as agreed and as we speak we are visiting the service providers┬á from time to time to make sure that they comply with our set rules,” Twobar┬á Koontse, the regulator’s spokesperson told The Telegraph.
Botswana has three registered mobile phone companies, namely Orange, Mascom and beMOBILE.
The move follows after BTA allowed service providers another month to capture the numbers into their systems by end of January.
This time, he said that they will not budge and that they will make sure that┬áthose who have not been registered electronically are taken off air.
About 1,719,396 users have been registered electronically and said that they would have been happy if all had adhered to the rules and registered electronically.
“We would have been very happy if┬áeveryone had registered electronically as required┬áand it is unfortunate that they have not done so,” he said.
Koontse said that┬áthere are measures that they can take for such providers┬áthat do not cut off unregistered users saying there are set of conditions for their licenses for operating┬áas service providers.
He also defended his Authority for taking the decision to cut those who have not registered with them electronically saying┬áthat service providers should be blamed and not them because they have┬áfailed to do what they ought to have done to make sure those users registered on time.
“The service providers are the ones to blame, we gave them enough time around 15 months to get their customers to register and they did not do a thing till it was very late,” he stressed.
Koontse explained that they were lenient┬á on the time table for registration because in other┬á countries┬á with populations more than double ours┬á service providers were given far lesser ┬á┬átime to have registered their customers and they did just that.
“We gave service providers a lot┬áof time to register their customers but they did┬álittle to see that customers registered on time,” he stressed.
Registration of cell phones, he explained, is done internationally┬áand that it is a rule of the International Telecommunication Authority and that is mainly done for security reasons.