Over a Million SIM Cards Have Been Disconnected, Causing an Uproar

"Approximately 1.4m SIM cards were disconnected," Rebecca Mukite, UCC's head of public and international affairs, stated on Tuesday.


Uproar and astonishment have engulfed SIM card customers who were abruptly disconnected by telecom firms for failing to register their SIM cards.

Semweya Musoke, a talk show host, found it difficult to express his anguish: “You’ve known me for 20 years, Banange MTN. I even registered my identity card when it was mandatory a few years ago. Why should I be turned off? You have my cellphone money, airtime, and data package!! Eh!” Musoke appears to express displeasure.

Another social media user using the X, previously Twitter account @BFrank16755020, stated: “MTN, Airtel, and the banks are considering deactivating SIM cards.” We utilize them on all of our paperwork [as well as] bank accounts. We have work away from home, and in some places, roaming is not available. “What does it take not to keep a SIM card?”

These are just a few of the countless social media posts in which Ugandans demand “fairness” when their SIM cards are suddenly turned off.

According to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), one-third of the 46 million SIM cards were turned off. However, according to UCC, affected owners have 90 days to visit any service center to renew their registration.

“Approximately 1.4m SIM cards were disconnected,” Rebecca Mukite, UCC’s head of public and international affairs, stated on Tuesday.

According to Mukite, the deadline for SIM registration is February, but she believes that impacted owners have been reacting to the necessity to attend service centers, which will likely lead to a decrease in data by next year.

“After the February 90-day deadline, if the SIM cards are not redeemed by the owners, the telecoms will reallocate the lines to the users.” “Airtel contributes the most,” Mukite remarked.

According to Mukite, all of the numbers have been registered, but the procedure is intended to guarantee that all numbers have a national ID and a fingerprint.

“There are multiple areas where the sim cards were not registered in the right way but a new regulation came out in May 2023, which is an instrument of the defence ministry provided for 180 days for which the telecom providers were supposed to ensure that all registrations are done according to the requirements in the guidelines,” the official said.