Long queues as Sim re-registration deadline expires

Long queues as Sim re-registration deadline expires
People waiting in line at Etisalat, Sharjah City Centre, Sharjah on 31 July 2015.

Dubai - Irate customers question logic of re-registeration.


Asma Ali Zain

Published: Sat 1 Aug 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 2 Aug 2015, 2:52 AM

Hundreds of customers crowded etisalat and du booths to re-register their Sim cards and avoid service cancellations as the deadline expired on Friday.
However, a slow system at Etisalat registration booths in malls across Dubai and Sharjah created chaos that lasted for hours and had to be cleared by the police at one centre at least.
The scenes were similar to what had been witnessed a year ago when residents were asked to register their SIM cards as part of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority's (TRA) 'My Number, My Identity' programme that was done in phases starting June 2012.
Recently - a year after the final registrations were completed - a number of mobile users received messages asking them to re-register their Sims since the validity was tied with that of their identity documents such as the Emirates Identity Card or passport.
"I have been standing in this line for over an hour and half but the Etisalat system seems to be slow, and the crowd seems to be growing," said Seema M, an Etisalat customer registering at Sharjah City Centre. "It is chaos all over ... people are pushing each other trying to get the Sims registered," she added.
Another customer, Mohammed Ashfaq, said the police had dispersed the crowd asking them not to crowd the area. "I had been standing in line for over an hour when police had to be called in since the lines were growing rapidly.
"The police asked to go shopping and come back later after we had finished all our other work. I do not understand why they have to give the same dates for registration to so many people ... they can ask them to come when the documents are about to expire," he added. Some people such as Gina Bhasker, in Dubai visited the Etisalat counter at the Mall of the Emirates early on Wednesday evening "to avoid the weekend rush".
"When I got there my token number was 750. There were 160 people in line before me. I reached the mall at 5, after office, and my registration only got done at 9. That's how long the wait was. To kill time I window-shopped and kept coming back to check if my number was any closer to being called," Bhaskar told Khaleej Times.
A Twitter user @nadjrab posted a picture of a long queue at an Etisalat booth at a mall and said, "Bad service an hour waiting and still not finished."
TRA said the move was the result of studies that suggested an increase in civil and criminal cases related to the misuse of SIM cards "resulting in serious legal or financial issues for the actual users."
Customer service representatives from both du and etisalat advised people to head to customer service centres when they receive an SMS, even if it seems early.
"It may be that there is a problem with your documents if it arrives so early," said one customer care rep. "The safest thing to do would be to bring your documents to check."
"It's important that one comes in after receiving the message," said another.
To re-register, customers should carry the original and a copy of their ID document - passport, Emirates ID or GCC National ID - to service centres and authorised dealers.

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