Agents charging up to GH¢10 for SIM registration despite Telcos warning

Re-register your SIM or lose it by March 2022 – Ursula warns

As scores of Ghanaians rush to have their SIM cards registration process finalised, some authorised private agents are taking undue advantage of the desperation of customers by charging fees at the various designated touch point centres, despite telecommunication networks warning against the practice.

A visit by the B&FT to some residential areas such as West-Legon, Dome Pillar2 and its environs reveal that some places of business, such as phone repair centres and residences, have been turned – with the authority of telcos – into SIM registration touchpoints to complete the biometric phase of the re-registration process.

The anecdotal evidence gathered by this Paper shows some of the private agents were charging between GH¢5-10 per person when they assist with the re-registration process.

Asked why they were taking such monies, the agents said the charges are for buying data to transfer the pictures of customers’ faces and fingers to the telecom operators – even though they have been told not to charge any amount by the Telcos.

Usually, the GH¢5 is charged on customers who have already begun the process with the short code *404#; and the GH¢10 is charged on customers who have not yet begun the process at all.

Some of the customers who this Paper spoke to said they have no option than to pay the amount demanded, especially when there are disheartening long queues at the offices of telecom operators – which means they have to spend their whole day there should they choose that option.

“I don’t see why I should continue sitting in a queue at the various telecommunication offices when I can simply pay GH¢10 to have it done for me quickly, just a few minutes from my shop.

This shows you that government is making a very simple process difficult by having all of us queue at the mobile service providers’ office in our vicinity.

“I would urge more people to try the centres close to their offices and homes; and if they have to pay something small they should, because I’d rather pay than have my SIM disconnected in March,” Adwoa Mansa, a trader, told the B&FT.

Another customer at one of the shops at Dome-Pillar 2, Kweku Nyamekye, also said he is willing to pay the amount being charged to avoid the stress and frustration of joining long queues for a long time.

“I often go to the MTN office not far from here. If I want to get there, I have to board a car and be there for hours and it never gets to my turn. But the process is just taking a picture of my hands and face. So once my friend informed me that they were doing the same thing at the office close to his home at a fee, I quickly took advantage of it – and I’ve had my SIM registered faster than I would have at the centre,” he said.

But one customer, who wants to be known only as Adwoa, said she does not feel comfortable in giving her pictures to a private person other than the Telcos, as she is not sure where her data will go and how it will be used.

“We have been told to register our SIM cards, and with that the appropriate place to do so is at your telecommunication provider’s office. I will not go and pay GH¢5 to have pictures of my hands and face taken when I can get the same thing done for free at my telecommunication provider’s office.

“What if the person taking the money does not give my details to my provider? What do I do then? It means I will wake up at the end of March and won’t be able to make calls. I can’t risk that so I’d rather use the approved route to having my SIM card registered,” she said.


MTN response on charge for SIM re-registration

Meanwhile, telecommunications company MTN Ghana has issued a statement signed by its General Manager for Regional Sales-Southern Ghana Division, Abubakar Mohammed, encouraging residents not to pay charges for the SIM registration process.

“MTN would like to state that customers are not supposed to pay any MTN official or agent for SIM registration. The activity is a national exercise that does not attract any charge or fee,” the statement said.

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