Some sim registration agents are charging customers who wish to register their cards, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has disclosed.
Speaking during a ZICTA workshop for the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communication, ZICTA Deputy Director General Magarette Mudenda said it was unfortunate that some sim registration agents are making the sim registration process complicated by demanding for a fee from people registering their cards.
Ms. Mudenda has since reminded members of the public that they are not supposed to pay for the sim registration as the process is absolutely free.
A number of people in rural areas are the victims of these unscrupulous agents.
And Ms. Mudenda has assured members of the public not to worry about their phone conversations because that no mobile service provider has the capacity to monitor phone calls even after sim card registration.
She said it was important that fears of deprivation of privacy be dispelled as sim registration is only meant to create a database that will help in quality service delivery.
She further said ZICTA has deliberately not set the deadline for sim registration as it still wants to access the response from the public.
And reacting to a concerns raised by Senga Hills Member of Parliament Kapembwa Simbao who wanted to know how old people who do not have national registration cards will register their card, Ms. Mudenda said ZICTA will issue a directive to mobile phone service providers to apply the same criteria used for minors.
Meanwhile, ZICTA Head of Information and Consumer Protection Katwamba Mwansa revealed that 48 out of 52 African countries had already done sim registration by October last year.
Mr. Mwansa explained that the exercise was meant to protect members of the public by helping in tracking criminals.
And ZICTA Projects Manager Bwalya Mwango disclosed that ZICTA will soon put up 144 GSM towers in chiefdoms countrywide.
Mr. Mwango said these towers will cost KR 240 million.
He said out of a total of 288 chiefdoms in Zambia, 118 do not have GSM service.
He explained that ZICTA also hopes to transform the education sector through Information Communication Technology systems (ICTs).
Mr. Mwango said the biggest challenge ZICTA was facing in promoting ICTs was the lack of a local computer manufacturing company.
He said this makes ICT equipment expensive.
He also cited the lack of inclusion of ICT in the education curriculum as another challenge.