The Rwandan government has switched off a total of 485,867 mobile subscribers for failure to register their Subscriber Identity Module commonly known as SIM cards.
The SIM card registration exercise in Rwanda kicked off in February 2013 and was supposed to come to an end on the 31st day of July.
The campaign is a prerequisite to regional integration under the East African Community aimed at curbing crimes committed through the use of cell phones.
According to the statistics from the Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority, a total of 6,110,138 SIM cards were registered, representing 92.6 percent of the total mobile subscription base in the country.
The Rwandan government however, says the registration exercise can continue for those people who have had their cell phones disconnected.
According to Yvonne Makolo, the MTN Rwanda Chief Marketing Officer says those who have been disconnected are only barred from receiving or making calls and can have their SIM cards reactivated after they register.
Makolo however, says the customers have got only 90 days to have their SIM cards reactivated or risk having the cards removed from the network.
According to Pierre Kayitana, a public relations and events manager at Tigo, one of the mobile telephone companies in Rwanda, the exercise was smooth. He said by the end of the registration exercise on July 31, the company had registered at least 96 percent of its 1.9 million subscribers.
Airtel saw 94 percent of its 953,949 clients registered, while the largest telecom provider, MTN, received 90 percent of 3.6 million SIM card owners registered.
Kenya is the only country in East Africa that has fully completed the exercise.
Early this year, more than 2.4 million unregistered SIM cards were disconnected by Kenya’s four mobile phone operators including Safaricom, Airtel, Orange and Yu Mobile.
Uganda is set to end the SIM card registration exercise on August 31, and subsequently disconnect all unregistered SIM cards.