Service providers in Bahrain have begun implementing provisions of the SIM-card enabled telecommunications services registration regulation issued in December 2015. This follows the expiration of the deadline specified by TRA for the operators to prepare and implement the provisions related to the registration and verification of user data and identity, including the implementation of the biometric verification process to verify the identity of the applicant.
The registration process will consist of two steps to verify the identity of the SIM card user, by presenting the applicant’s identification or passport and conducting the biometric scan. The move is part of the regulatory authority's efforts to safeguard citizens and residents of the Kingdom from fraud and identity theft related crimes.
The regulation further limits the sale of SIM-cards in shops; SIM-cards can be sold through the operators’ outlets and their resellers who obtain a formal approval from TRA to conduct the registration and verification processes on behalf of the mobile operators.
Moreover, the regulation has introduced a ceiling for the number of pre-paid SIM cards consumers may acquire. The limit has been set at 10 pre-paid SIM-cards from each licensed mobile operator (Batelco, Zain, and Viva); hence a total of 30 pre-paid SIM-cards per person can be obtained.
TRA had launched an awareness campaign for mobile subscribers in 2016 to keep users informed of the importance of controlling the cards registered under their names.
More information can be found here.