DUBAI// Etisalat customers who fail to re-register their sim cards in time will not have their handsets blocked after the telecom company extended its deadline.
Users originally had until tomorrow to update their details or faced having their service disrupted.
The company has been contacting customers in batches via SMS alerts, advising them to register their sim cards in line with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s (TRA) “My Number, My Identity” campaign.
“We will extend the period for registration for those who have not yet registered,” said an Etisalat official. “They will not have their service blocked after the October 16 deadline.”
He did not say how long the deadline had been extended.
The TRA launched its campaign on July 17, requiring all mobile phones with sim cards from du or Etisalat to be re-registered.
The move is part of efforts to crack down on the fraudulent use of sim cards by linking owners with registered users.
Etisalat and du are conducting phased registration of mobile phone subscriber bases before the final cut-off date in 14 months.
Both companies have warned customers who do not register their cards within three months of receiving an alert that they face having their phones blocked. A valid passport, residency visa and Emirates or GCC identity card are required for the registration process.
The process can be completed at any du and Etisalat outlet.
An Etisalat spokesman said: “Etisalat fully supports the My Number, My Identity campaign initiated by the TRA.
“In the interest of abiding by TRA regulations, and as a precaution to prevent improper conduct or misuse of the subscriber’s sim card, Etisalat urges all of its valued mobile customers to register their sim card at their nearest Etisalat sales outlet as soon as possible.
“Etisalat advises that there will not be a service disconnection on October 16. This will be delayed until further notice.”
Brent Jenkins, an American who lives in Abu Dhabi, said he had not received an alert asking him to register and was unsure about the need to do so.
“I guess it’s like the situation with the Emirates ID card where I eventually got it done,” he said. “I recently moved back to Abu Dhabi from Dubai and was just in an Etisalat outlet trying to get Wi-Fi sorted at our new villa.
“I could have got it done then but it completely slipped my mind.”
The TRA’s website warns mobile phone users of the dangers of allowing their sim cards to be used by other people.
“Your mobile phone number is an extension of your identity,” the site states. “Sharing or giving away your sim card to others can cause unwanted consequences, including being held accountable for any improper conduct or misuse associated with the mobile phone subscription by the authorities, as well as being liable for all charges by the licensees.”
The TRA said the owner of a sim card was responsible for the manner of its use and any charges or costs it might incur.
"Before giving away your sim card, consider the potential risks you are subjecting yourself to," the TRA site states.
Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA, said in June the campaign was needed to tackle the use of sim cards in crime.
“The TRA has established a number of procedures that help mobile phone users, both pre-paid and post-paid, maintain their subscription and safeguard their rights and privacy,” he said.
No one was available for comment from du.