Tuesday, September 22, 2020

D-Day looms for prepaid mobile phone subscribers

Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) has expressed disappointment that only a fraction of pre-paid mobile subscribers have registered their simcards despite the looming December 31 deadline.

The telecom regulator’s Public Relations Officer Twobar Koontse told Sunday Standard this week that only 15% of mobile phone users in the country have up to now registered.

“I have worked out the 15% from the numbers I got on 31 October and do not think there has been much change from then though mobile phone companies have told me about users who have registered their phones,” he said.

Koontse warned subscribers that there will be no extension for registration date end of this month saying subscribers were given more time than in other countries where similar exercise is taking place.

“To be precise, we have given them 15 months, which is three months more than a year whilst in other countries such as Kenya and South Africa, people were given only six as such we will not postpone the deadline and users will be cut off when the deadline comes,” he explained.

BTA blames subscribers in a country with a culture of stalling doing things until the last day. This is the case with the payment of post boxes as people wait until they are threatened with being cut off.

However, BTA does not want to blame mobile phone companies because the three players have been running advertisements in the media about registration simcards.

Other operators have reached an agreement with BotswanaPost so as to provide their customers with services in the far corners of Botswana where the mobile phone companies do not have offices.

Despite this statement, some Orange customers in Kanye this week complained that they have not been given such a service in their village raising fears that they will be cut off unless they travel to Gaborone.

BTA insists that that the importance of registering simcards is in line with the policies of World Telecommunications Authority and for security purposes.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.