Abdou Karim Sall, the director of Senegal’s Regulation Authority of Post and Telecoms (Autorite de Regulation des Telecoms et des Postes, ARTP), has given the country’s telecoms operators – Orange Senegal, Tigo Senegal and Sudatel Senegal (Expresso) – six months to complete a mandatory identification of all mobile telecoms subscribers. Starting 10 May 2016, industry players have six months to comply he said, noting that to help ensure the success of the verification process for identifying users, all operators will be given access to government-held national identity files.
The process to complete SIM identification has so far not run to plan. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in June 2013 the Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital Economy launched a scheme to identify all mobile subscribers in the country. The project, managed by the ARTP, is being carried out under recommendations laid out by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – adopted in 2007 – that require domestic cellcos to identify who is using their mobile services in order to provide more reliable statistics on the market, improve security and tackle the grey market for phones. More than eight years after adopting the decree, however, Senegal’s wireless service providers have so far failed to complete the mobile identification scheme, despite the trio deploying teams across the country to help carry out the process.