Frustration, anger, and confusion characterise SIM card registration centres in Ashanti region


By Nicholas Osei-Wusu   

Extreme frustration, anger, anxiety, misunderstanding, and fast-waning hope among applicants have characterised some designated registration centres for the soon-to-end SIM card Re-registration in parts of the Ashanti region, especially Kumasi, the regional capital. 

These have caused an almost unanimous call for an extension of the deadline for the exercise, which is next Sunday, the 31st of this month, by at least another three months, to save the thousands of mobile phone users from losing their SIM cards and important contacts and information after the deadline. 

Despite the fast-approaching deadline for the registration of mobile phone SIM cards, most of the designated registration centres in the Ashanti region still have long queues of applicants waiting for their respective turns to go through the re-registration process. 

GBC News’ observation during a visit to some of these centres was that, indeed, quite an appreciable number of mobile phone users stand to lose their current SIM cards with their personal and important data, information, and contacts from the numbers that were ready to go through the exercise. 

The MTN Re-registration centre at the Kumasi Mall in the Asokwa Municipality had the longest queue of applicants as at 12.30 p.m. when GBC News arrived. 

Most of these people said they had already completed the first phase of the re-registration, which is self-service, and had thus come to the Centre to complete the second and last phase, involving capturing of their biometric data by the officials. 

The applicants were made up of the physically disabled, pregnant and nursing mothers, young working people as well as the aged, some of whom were being assisted by their relatives waiting for their turns. 

Despite the enhanced efforts deployed by the MTN, including the erection of a temporary centre aside from the offices, the process still appeared slow. 

The general mood and atmosphere at the centre were those of anxiety, anger and frustration, with the applicants mindful of the Sunday deadline for the re-registration exercise. 

Opinions sampled among the registrants showed a chorus of they should extend the deadline with a divided view about how long the extension should last. 

While one part asked for an extension of the timeline to the end of the year, the other opinions asked for at least three more months. 

They gave reasons for their frustrations and the call for an extension of the deadline.

At the Vodafone Registration Centre, the number of SIM card re-registration applicants, though relatively smaller than that at the other centres, obviously due to their respective customer base, was still appreciable. 

Here, GBC News observed that, as part of extra efforts by the mobile telecom service provider to improve the speed of the exercise, it had even deployed some of its private security personnel to augment its own staff in serving the customers. 

At this Centre, even though none of the applicants was ready to speak to GBC News on camera, the process seemed relatively faster, thereby giving the customers the patience to follow the queue without the misunderstanding observed at the other centres.

 At both registration centres, officials declined to speak to GBC News when their views were sought.

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