Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) said that of the 22 million active SIM cards in the country only about eight million of them are registered.
The ministry said that these eight million SIM cards are also not registered properly.
However, officials said they have plans in place to upgrade the registration system and process.
The ministry said that once the new system is in place, all 22 million SIM cards will be registered.
The ministry said that so far 28 million SIM cards have sold by telecommunication companies in the country and of these SIM cards, about six million are not being used.
Officials said they have sent the new plan to the telecommunication companies in order to get feedback on the new system and once approved, the new registration process will be implemented. The companies will have six months to register all SIM cards, officials said.
“Around seven to eight million SIM cards may be registered, but we also are not sure about their registration. Because in some places from five to 10 and 50 SIM cards have been registered with one National Identity Card and it is not acceptable for us,” said Najib Nangialay, the ministry spokesman.
A number of communications experts have welcomed the move and said that unregistered SIM cards also contribute towards insecurity in the country.
Experts also claim that unregistered SIM cards negatively impact the tax collection process on mobile phone usage.
“A number of people who have contracts with the companies to sell SIM cards, get activated SIM cards from the company to make the distribution easy. A number of telecom companies also leave unregistered SIM cards active in order to sell more SIM cards and the SIM cards finally go to the black market and there get sold illegally,” said Musafershah Khurasani an IT analyst.
This comes after a number of residents raised concern over irregularities in the sale of SIM cards and said some telecommunication companies deduct credit from SIM cards as they see fit, but are in turn not paying over the required tax to government.