Hundreds of pre-registered simcards are on sale and the Daily Nation was able to buy two sims, one from an Airtel sales agent and another from MTN.
The Airtel pre-registered simcard bears the number 0974275215 while the MTN is pre-registered under 0962366674.
It is suspected that some workers of the mobile service providers have printed over hundreds of simcards and were conniving with simcard sales agents to sell the pre-registered SIM cards to unsuspecting members of public, who did not know that such transactions were illegal.
And now the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has directed mobile phone service providers to investigate the culprits behind the scam and find out how pre-registered SIM cards were ending up in the hands of members of public.
Some members of the public have argued that it was not possible for anyone to possess pre-registered SIM cards without a hand from workers of the mobile service providers.
And some subscribers complained that their names were incorrectly appearing on their phones, if they dialed *101# to check if they were registered.
ZICTA assistant public relations officer Christabel Simbulo confirmed the investigation.
Ms Simbulo also said ZICTA had suspended the third-party registration process until ways of curbing the sale of pre-registered SIM cards was found.
“Some preregistered SIM cards are in circulation owing to the fact that some subscribers were registering in the pretext of giving their children who had phones before they become eligible to have their own National Registration Cards,” she said.
She, however, admitted that there was no way a subscriber could buy hundreds of registered SIM cards for their children.
“That is why we are investigating to find out how these SIM cards are bought and we have also engaged service providers to find out how their system is dealing with it, because when you buy a SIM card, that is when they get your details to be registered.
“Most of the people are doing that because of the third- party registration where they will go and buy multiple SIM cards under one name and they claim that the person they are buying for is a child or maybe not feeling well,” Ms Simbulo explained.
ZICTA has announced that all SIM cards deemed to have missing details would be permanently de-registered if not corrected by February 29, 2016.
ZICTA urged members of the public to report anyone selling pre-registered SIM cards to the police, as it was an offence and punishable by law.
According to ZICTA regulation 14(2), a person who contravenes this regulation is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding 2,500 penalty units or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or both.
Recently, MTN Zambia disconnected hundreds of its subscribers’ SIM cards and rendered them invalid for having incomplete details despite having successfully registered their SIM cards during the registration exercise.