CAIRO: The National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) announced it will shut down unregistered mobile lines starting July, according to sources in the industry.
Estimates place the amount of unregistered mobile lines in Egypt at 5 to 10 percent, meaning the policy could disable 1.5 to 3 million of the country’s 31 million subscribers.
According to local newspaper Al-Dostour, the NTRA warned mobile operators about the decision and granted them a grace period to register their remaining customers. Earlier reports indicated that mobile companies recently began contacting customers for this information.
Officials at the NTRA did not respond to requests for comment.
Hanan Ragheb, a spokesperson for Vodafone, said the telecommunications company is still in talks with the NTRA and has not yet received official word on details of the plan, adding they had heard about it through reports in the local press.
“For our part, we’re working on a project to get all the data from the customers, she said. “We have more than 90 percent of customers registered.
She said that the company was contacting unregistered users and gathering their information, as well as asking customers who know they are unregistered to contact them. Vodafone should have no problem meeting the July deadline, she said.
“We have the fewest unregistered lines of all operators, she said.
Passage of the Telecommunications Regulation Law in 2003 established the NTRA as a monitor of Egyptian phone companies and a “prudent arbiter between the “equilateral triangle of industry, state and consumer, according to the group’s materials.
Earlier this month, the NTRA’s Jordanian counterpart, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, launched a similar campaign in the neighboring kingdom, where nearly one million mobile users remain unregistered.