UCC lifts ban on SIM cards under new tough conditions

simcards uganda

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has lifted a two-week ban on the sale and swapping of SIM cards granted that certain conditions are met. The new stringent measures are considered a temporary solution at the moment. UCC is still in the process of building an API which will make real-time application and verification of National IDs using the National Identity Registration Authority (NIRA)’s database possible.

Previously, to get a SIM swap required one to go to an authorised outlet with your phone and National ID. The registration form asked for things like the last calls received and made, and your mobile money balance. The Telecom outlet would then ask for a copy of your national ID too, and that was it. Those buying a new SIM card only had to provide their National ID and fill in a form.

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New SIM card registration criteria

As of now, new criteria have to be met by those looking to swap their SIM cards or get new ones. They are as follows:

      1. A valid police report
      2. A letter from NIRA verifying and validating SIM card holder’s biodata
      3. Re-registration of SIM cards using National ID biodata and photograph
      4. New registration form
      5. A genuine Type-approved device/mobile handset.

Read more: Device IMEI Number: Find out whether your device is genuine or counterfeit

Read more: UCC bans sale of airtime scratch cards effective 30th June 2018


Quotable: “We realised that the public needs the services. These are the interim measures until the API is in place. We are still working with NIRA.” Pamela Ankunda, Head of Public and International Relations, UCC.

Telecom subscribers are hereby required to have letters from Police (a police report) and NIRA (verifying National ID biodata). On top of that, a subscriber is also expected to have a genuine device (mobile phone, router, MiFi, e.t.c). Unsure about this? Read our excellent post explaining IMEI codes [Device IMEI Number: Find out whether your device is genuine or counterfeit]

Once all these conditions have been met, consider yourself armed. One last thing, don’t forget your photo. The Mobile Network Operator will then issue a new SIM card registration form. Only after all the details have been filled can now get a new SIM card.

However…anybody upcountry will have to hop on a bus and head to Kampala. NIRA currently only has offices in the city center serving the entire Ugandan population. So, good luck with that!