/ 23 June 2011

MTN, Vodacom on track to meet Rica deadline

Mobile phone operators MTN and Vodacom are on track to meet a June deadline for registering users as part of an effort against crime, a state official said on Thursday.

Under the country’s Rica legislation passed in 2008, cellphones are required to be registered to a name and an address to make phones easier to trace.

South Africa’s major mobile phone operators have said the legislation could hurt revenue and subscriber growth.

Operators are on track to meet the June 30 deadline for registration, Tiyani Rikhotso, a spokesperson for the communications ministry, told reporters.

As of Thursday morning, MTN had registered 98% of its contract subscribers, with 100 000 remaining, he said.

Vodacom, a unit of Britain’s Vodafone, has registered 94% of its customer base, with 1.3-million prepaid customers and 105 000 contract customers still to go, he said.

Rikhotso said the ministry, which has shifted the deadline on several occasions, will not accede to requests for further extensions.

Customers who have not registered by the deadline will have their service cut off. — Reuters