SIM cards sales restricted to official mobile operator stores for 2 months

CAIRO: SIM cards will not be sold except in official stores of Egypt’s three mobile operators for another two months, a top official at National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) told Youm7 Tuesday.

NTRA is also studying the option of making permanent the decision, which was issued in May, in case full adherence to registering SIM cars under the details of their owners is not achieved, the source said.

A total of 13 million cell phone lines were disabled in the past two years for being anonymous or having incomplete data, while the data of 55 million other lines were updated, the source added.

Mobile phones and SIM cards have been used in detonating improvised explosive devices remotely in most of the attacks that followed the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.

On Jan. 27, Egypt’s Court of Urgent Matters banned the usage of unregistered SIM cards, stating that Egypt’s three mobile operators (Vodafone, Etisalat, and Mobinil) shall comply with the court decision and register all clients’ data.

Unregistered SIM cards “harm the security and public peace, violate and threaten the security of Egypt and citizens,” the court said.

There are an estimated 94.5 million cell phone lines currently in use in Egypt, according to a January report by the Ministry of Communications.

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