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Italy okays digital ID for SIM activation, Namibia and Mauritania race to meet deadlines

Italy okays digital ID for SIM activation, Namibia and Mauritania race to meet deadlines

The telecommunications regulatory body in Italy (AGCOM) says it is now possible for network providers to activate SIM cards using the national identity system (SPID), the digital ID card (CIE) or the national services ID (CNS).

According to a report by Punto Informatico, the new development emanated from a recent meeting of the Commission on Infrastructure and Networks, and is part of efforts by authorities to simplify the way SIM cards are registered in the country. It is also in conformity with Resolution no. 86/21/CIR which has been in place since November last year.

About 35 million Italians already use the SPID for access to different services.

Before the decision to allow SIM registration with digital identity, getting a SIM card activated required the submission of photocopies of one’s ID documents and health card to telecoms firms.

The outlet notes that with the novelty, telecoms operators will have to update the framework agreement related to the Number Data Protection Standards, in force since May 2022.

Part of the new rules apply to mobile number portability processes, and officials say they will go a long way in preventing SIM swap fraud.

Officials say from November 7, only owners of phone numbers will be able to make number portability requests, as opposed to the old rule where such requests could be done on people’s behalf. A copy of the applicant’s identity documents and tax code will also be required for the purpose.

Italy’s SPID was recently integrated into Signicat’s digital ID portfolio for international use.

Namibia biometric SIM registration faces challenges

Elsewhere in SIM registration, the telecoms regulatory body in Namibia (CRAN) has said the biometric SIM card registration drive in the country has been rocked by a litany of challenges.

With the December 31 deadline approaching, only 29 percent of active SIM cards in the southern African country have been registered, The Namibian reports.

A spokesperson for CRAN listed some of the challenges to include resistance from locals against setting up registration points in certain communities, lack of interest by mobile phone users or the submission of inaccurate information, power failures, and lack of proof if ID by many citizens.

In May, CRAN made the collection of biometrics for SIM registration optional.

Mauritania to register 6.5 million SIM cards

Meanwhile, Mauritania also recently undertook a biometric SIM registration drive. The process, which started in August, was due to end on October 6, per Ecofin Agency.

The government said it targeted all the 6.5 million SIM cards in use in the country within the registration window, and threatened to deactivate all those that would not be biometrically identified. A valid ID is one of the requirements for the SIM registration.

At the time of this report, the government had not provided an update on how many SIMs were successfully registered, and whether any had been suspended.

Officials say the SIM registration drive is part of efforts to enhance national security.

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