Alexander McNabb

SIMply Mad: Queue Up for A Telecom Farce

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Did  you catch this one? I, for one, didn’t I’ve missed it until I finally tumbled today.

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) last week launched a new campaign, ‘My number, my identity’. It’s probably my fault and certainly not the almost impenetrably obtuse language of the announcement which is clarified by Gulf News today in a story that, try as I might, I could not find online.

We’re all going to have to trot off and re-register our mobile SIMs with whichever operator we’re with. From July 17th, Etisalat will have over 100 registration points around the country where you can go, eagerly clutching your national ID or passport with visa, and complete an application form to, effectively, re-apply for your mobile phone number. Du didn’t confirm its re-registration arrangement intentions to GN in order to make the story, but CEO Osman Sultan, quoted in the TRA release lauding the TRA’s campaign, did say customers could go to Du shops.

Many of you will recognise July 17th as the likely starting point for Ramadan, the ideal time to conduct a national campaign of this sort.

Unregistered SIM cards will be cancelled “once the registration period expires” according to the GN story. We haven’t been told when that is, or what likely timescale they have in mind.

There are 12.36 million mobile lines out there. It’s taken five years for the Emirates ID Authority to ‘roll out’ the national ID card. How long will it take this campaign I wonder? How many needless frustrations, queues, visits to physical locations and extended deadlines, empty threats, retracted announcements and ‘clarifications’ are we set to see?

But believe me folks, take this one seriously and get in there early. Because if there’s one thing these bohos can do well, it’s cut people off…

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