Johannesburg - SA mobile operator Vodacom Group [JSE:VOD]
said on Friday that it is deregistering approximately one million inactive SIM cards as part of a series of steps to help improve the effectiveness of the Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (Rica).
On July 1, the requirement for the de-activation of all unregistered SIM cards as per the Rica law became effective.
Following the cut-off date, at a joint press briefing between the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development (DoJ) and the Department of Communications (DoC), the issue of the sale of fraudulently preregistered SIMs was addressed.
Vodacom said on Friday that it had identified almost one million SIMs which had been registered but not yet activated. All of these SIMs were deregistered.
"This means that these SIMs cannot be sold and used without first being registered in the new customer's name. Supporting this measure, Vodacom has also implemented a process whereby all SIMs registered but not activated within 30 days will automatically be deregistered. The company is also checking all instances where numerous SIM cards were registered in the name of a single customer," it said.
In the case of company registrations, Vodacom said it would verify the details of these companies with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. All new registrations undertaken in a company name would also be checked in the same way.
In addition to this, Vodacom added that it would embark on an education campaign to remind customers that all SIMs must be registered in the user's name. Furthermore, Vodacom would reiterate that the Rica Act imposes severe penalties on anyone who fails to register their details or provides fraudulent information. The potential penalties include a fine or imprisonment, or both.
Portia Maurice, chief officer corporate affairs said: "Vodacom fully supports the goal of reducing crime and we're pleased to work with the Department of Justice to ensure that not only the letter but also the spirit of Rica is being implemented. By taking these actions, we're closing down avenues that criminals could use to hide their identity. We'll continue to engage with the relevant authorities as they implement additional measures to stamp out fraudulent activity."