The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority issued on the 31st of December 2015 a regulation on the SIM-card enabled telecommunications services registration. In the interest of the citizens and residents of the Kingdom, the Regulation aims to safeguard consumers from fraud and identity theft related crimes.
On this occasion, the director of the Authority's Cyber Security Directorate, Dr. Khalid Bin Daij Al Khalifa was quoted stating that "The issuance of this regulation is an important step for the protection of the interests of all mobile subscribers. the Authority, in cooperation with the mobile operators, will take a number of measures designed to regulate the registration and verification process for consumers applying for SIM based telecommunication services in order to mitigate the rising number of identity theft and fraud cases."
The regulation has also introduced a ceiling for the number of pre-paid SIM cards consumers may aquire, which has been set at 10 pre-paid SIM-cards as a maximum from each licensed mobile operators (Batelco, Zain, Viva); as such a total of 30 pre-paid SIM-cards per person can be obtained. TRA will also prevent the sale of SIM-cards in shops as the regulation only permits selling SIM-cards through the operators' outlets and their resellers who obtain a formal approval from TRA to conduct the registration and verification processes on behalf of the mobile operators. The new regulation will take effect within 7 months from the date of issuance.
Simultaneously, TRA is preparing an awareness campaign for consumers, which will convey a number of informative messages. The focus will be mainly on educating consumers not to obtain SIM-Cards on behalf of others and refrain from leaving SIM-cards registered in their names at the disposal of others. Misuse of SIM-cards registered in the name of the consumers may make them subject to legal accountability. The consumers will be made aware to ensure that SIM-cards, without their knowledge, are not registered in their name with the licensed mobile operators. The campaign will also encourage residents and visitors to cancel any SIM-cards registered in their names in case they leave the country permanently.
For more information, the SIM-Card Enabled Telecommunications Services Registration Regulation can be viewed on the TRA's website under the Regulations section.