Etisalat and du mobile users could be cut off as Sim registration deadline passes

The deadline for registering Sim cards with service operators passed on Wednesday, and authorities have vowed to disconnect services for failure to comply.
Final call: mobile phone users rush to register their numbers at Mall of the Emirates. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Final call: mobile phone users rush to register their numbers at Mall of the Emirates. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // Users of mobile phones who have not yet registered their numbers could have their lines cut off from Thursday.

The deadline for registering Sim cards with service operators passed on Wednesday, and authorities have vowed to disconnect services for failure to comply.

My Number, My Identity was launched by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in 2012.

Since then, mobile-phone owners have been summoned in batches by both Etisalat and du to their shops to update their data by a certain date, with Wednesday being the final deadline.

To update their Sim cards, users had to present a passport or national ID card at counters.

Although Wednesday was the deadline, queues at Etisalat and du counters in the Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall were not significantly longer than normal.

“To be honest, we were expecting more people,” said a customer service agent at Etisalat’s Mall of the Emirates branch at lunchtime on Wednesday. “We thought everyone was going to leave it to the last minute, but it doesn’t seem any more than on a normal day.

“Maybe everyone who had to register has already done so.”

Etisalat had said that 95 per cent of customers had registered their Sim cards ahead of the deadline.

Neither Etisalat nor du could give exact figures on how many phone numbers were to be disconnected, nor whether those numbers would be recycled and sold to new users.

David Schoeman, 42, from South Africa, took an hour on his lunchbreak on Wednesday to register his Sim.

“It’s one of those things I’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t got around to,” he said. “They say that today is the last day, so I thought I better make an effort to come down here.

“I don’t want to have the extra hassle of having to get a new number tomorrow.”

Moni Singh, from India, said he did not know that he had to register until his wife explained to him what the text messages he was receiving from Etisalat were about.

“I think they may have made a big fuss about this a few years ago, but I didn’t realise it was such an urgent thing,” he said.

mcroucher@thenational.ae

Published: July 16, 2014 04:00 AM

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