UAE SIMs must be re-registered with every new visa

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UAE mobile phone users will have to re-register their SIM cards every time they change their employment or residency visa status, the latest twist in ongoing confusion over the telecom regulator's policy.

The requirement for users to re-register their SIM when they change their visa status was confirmed to Arabian Business by a representative from UAE telecommunications operator du.

Some residents across the UAE have until Thursday to re-register their SIM cards as part of a Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) clampdown on illegal SIM cards and phones.

The TRA was forced to extend the deadline in October 2012 after du and Etisalat “were unable to provide smooth mechanisms to facilitate, accelerate and stimulate subscribers to update their data”.

Users can register their SIM cards by taking their passport or national ID to du or Etisalat registration points. As queues mount up at du and Etisalat stores across the UAE, confusion still exists over the terms and deadline regarding the re-registration process.

“I went to Mall of the Emirates to re-register my SIM card and the Etisalat service point was absolute chaos. I waited for more than half an hour before giving up because the queue wasn’t moving,” Richard Jennings, a UK expat in Dubai, told Arabian Business.

“I then tried another service point at the other side of the mall where the queue was shorter, but the member of staff there said I could not re-register until I’d been sent an SMS from Etisalat to tell me to do so. It was a waste of my time,” he added.

While a du representative said they were not aware of the January 17 deadline being extended, an email from an Etisalat customer support executive said in an email that “complete registration of all existing customers to be completed by 17-01-2014”.

“[Re-registration] prevents any unauthorised or criminal usage of SIM cards and helps in curbing legal or social violations besides reducing frauds that have been noticed during the last few years,” the TRA said.

Etisalat has 105 registration points across the UAE while du has 46, said the TRA and text messages are reportedly being sent out in a series of batches.

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Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Abdulla

Well it is my country and we can do whatever we want, if you dont like it leave!!!
Being sarcastic : )

Posted by: ahmed

With an attitude like that all the best with Service industry.
Get over it, you need us

Posted by: anonymous

Please can Etisalat or DU clarify why they don't make it a little more easy for their existing customers but permitting registration using the online portal available to their subscribers. I have both ETISALAT and DU online logins and that have pretty much everything about me. Why cannot they permit an online registration and make life a little more easier ??

Posted by: Telcoguy

How do you actually want to prove your identity while online?
I am interested in knowing more about your idea
So to make this clear, the only way to verify your identity today in the UAE and actually in most countries is by physically showing up with your documentation, Ideally we should be able to use the Emirates ID card (they are supposed to be tamper proof) but you would need a PC equipped with a reader, something most people lack
You may argue about execution and planning, that is a different story. You may also wonder if this will work (much more likely here than in larger countries, for once being small helps) but once you decide you want to control who is behind a phone number this is the only way
BTW I have a couple of prepaid numbers that we lend to visitors, I did not bother registering and they are still working. We do not even remember who got them first

Posted by: Vix

Well, wondering where the superlatives such as biggest, fastest, smartest and coolest have disppeared. Struggling tp manage a SIM population of 4-5 million. Think how countries which manage 100++ Million sunscribers without breaking sweat. A la Emirates ID Card debacle all over again... no sessons learned in managing a project.

Posted by: Telcoguy

will "most annoying", "most expensive" "most unfriendly" work for you? All of those fit Etisalat quite well.
I just moved to du, so let see

BTW SIM card registration is a painful exercise everywhere, and it is often a failure. Governments all over the world are freaking about SIM cards that can not be linked to a physical person but the fact is that no country can ensure 100% compliance; they will try here but in the end you can not ensure that

What I find more annoying is all the references to "fake phones" when this is all about SIM cards and has nothing to do with handsets. I for one would certainly appreciate if they stopped spinning things or at least hired someone competent to do it, as it is now it is kind of insulting.

Posted by: Ed B

Uae makes it more and more complex and unfreindly to stay here as expat. You would expect that they can all manage it in he background.... Visa, labor, id card..... Why can they not connect this?

Posted by: leo50

SIMply ludicrous, as usual!

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