The Tanzanian government has said that the deadline for registration of SIM cards in Tanzania remains 30 June despite pressure to extend it for a second time.

The ministry of telecommunications has warned that those who fail to comply with the end of June deadline will have their cards locked. According to information on the website of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority unregistered users will then have a further period of 90 days to register the card and have it unlocked. Any card not registered by 30 September 2010 will be permanently deactivated.

The original deadline was set for 31 December 2009 but in the middle of that month it was extended to the end of June 2010 as less than 7 million out of an estimated 18 million users had complied with the regulation.

Registration is especially difficult in rural areas where there are few mobile telephone company offices and on-street registration has not been as well organised as in urban areas. There are seven mobile operators in Tanzania; TTCL, Zain, Vodacom, Tigo, Sastel, BOL and Zantel.

Mobile phone use has increased by about 400 per cent in the last five years, according to the minister of telecommunications. It is now becoming a way of transferring money and paying utility bills and therefore registration is considered an important way of preventing fraud.

Identification to activate all SIM cards bought after 1 June is automatic.