My number, my identity

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority launched the My Number, My Identity campaign in June this year, calling out subscribers to register the SIM card they are using to their names to ensure that the owner of a SIM-Card is responsible for the manner in which it is used (and for the costs and charges associated with it).

Background info: Whenever we buy a SIM card to be used here, we need to submit identification documents, usually in the form of passport copy.

Back in the days when a SIM cards was expensive (I bought mine at AED165 or US$45 in 2007 now you can buy as low as AED40), I know so many people leaving Dubai just giving away their SIM cards for  other friends/family members to use.

Now, those SIM cards need to be registered to the name of the current user for a small fee. Registration can be done by visiting any mobile service provider Du or Etisalat sales offices and bringing an identification papers (Passport or Emirates ID).

I admit, at first, I thought: what a hassle! but the initiative makes sense.

According to the TRA website:

Sharing or giving away your SIM-Card to others can cause unwanted consequences, including being held accountable for any improper conduct or misuse associated with the mobile phone subscription by the authorities.

Just out of curiosity, I wonder: how many other countries are doing something like this?

More important question: Are you a UAE resident and have you already registered your SIM card to your name?

5 thoughts on “My number, my identity

  1. Just have to say I would never in a bazillion years register my sim card with the government (though it sounds like something our current administration might try). That would be blatantly unconstitutional in the USA as the 4th amendment guarantees our right to privacy (as in phone records) without a search warrant being issued by our courts! An individual giving a sim card or phone to someone else doesn’t make that person responsible for any crime that may be committed using the phone, the user is still the criminal. As far as phone charges, the person who gives their sim card or phone to someone has the responsibility to see that the charges are transferred to the other person. If they don’t, it’s their own fault and they’re responsible. I know the laws are different in Dubai than they are here, but our government would have no legal basis for ever doing this!

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    • Thanks for the wonderful and educational insight of how it is there in the US.

      Here in the UAE, when we buy a SIM card, it requires registration, unlike in the Philippines where we just buy them freely. So the SIM card is tied to a person from the start. Any misuse of that SIM card and the authorities will automatically trace the person registered with it.

      Since we could not escape from registering our SIM card the day we buy it, we might as well “accept” the new law asking people to re-register, especially those who just received their SIM cards from others.

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  2. We did 2 weeks ago. You fill out a form of your personal details and the etisalat mobile numbers in your name (one form only for all the mobile numbers you have, not one form for each number). Bring also your passport / driving license / labor card, they will check those, and the staff processing the registration will take a copy and attach it to the form. I am not sure if they will do this too in other business centers, take their own copies of your ID documents; however one can just bring a copy just in case along with the original. The re-registration is free if your numbers are in your name. If not, DH50 will be collected per number to get it transferred to your name. Within half hour you can finish everything, provided there are less customers being served.

    We read however the other night, I think in gulfnews or khaleejtimes, that an sms confirming the re-registration process had been done will be sent. We did not receive that sms, so hubby will visit again this coming weekend the business center where we did the re-registration. Fortunately it’s near our flat and hubby’s on leave 🙂

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  3. Thanks for the info.I am from India and currently working in Dubai.I am currently using my friend’s sim card he gave it to me as he went to usa since he got a better job there.I inquired to change the name of my sim card and they told me it is free of cost and asked me to bring my passport to initiate the transfer request.Anyways thanks for the info but there is no transfer fee.

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  4. Although I agree that it violates the rights of individuals in most countries, I feel it is necessary in this day and age. I just hope data gathered through this campaign are secured and won’t leak out to unscrupulous people.

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