NTRA extends ban on unofficial SIM cards sales

The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) extended the ban on sales of mobile phone SIM cards by unofficial and retailers in Egypt for another three months, according to an official source.
The source, from one of the three companies, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that despite the negative impact of the decision on the size of sales, the companies have abided by the decision in favor of Egypt's national security.
He pointed out that monthly sales of SIM cards for his company have consequently fallen from 3 million to 600,000.
The NTRA issued a decision on May 18, limiting the sale of mobile phone SIM cards to only the official branches of Egypt's three mobile phone companies. The authority fined the three companies LE370,000 over violating the decision last July. 
Mobile phone chips were sold through unofficial outlets to citizens who did not collect customer identification details before the NTRA decision was issued.
"In the context of combating fraud in the selling of mobile phone lines and its impact in spreading mobile crimes, the Communications and Information Technology Minister Khaled Negm has met with Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat to discuss legal procedures undertaken by prosecutions nationwide against fraud by means of using data from fake IDs, thereby threatening national security," the NTRA said in a statement on May 18.
Negm said in May he had instructed the NTRA to tighten control over the selling of mobile phone lines, as well as ensure the accuracy of mobile phone users’ data "as those lines are used in terrorist and criminal acts".
The number of cell phone subscribers saw a 5.73 million decrease in May 2015 compared to the same month last year.
The number of cell phone subscribers in Egypt inched up 0.3 percent to 96.03 million in May 2015, compared to 95.75 million in April 2015, according to a report issued by the Communications and Information Technology Ministry on August 2, 2015.

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