Press Release

A total of 2.7 million active SIM cards registered

From a total of 3.1 million active SIM cards, 2.7 million SIM cards were registered during the past six months. This is shown by the latest figures released by telecom regulator BIPT. From midnight onwards, registration is required by law for all prepaid SIM cards. Users in possession of a blocked card can reactivate it through their operator after registration.

A legal obligation to register prepaid SIM cards with the telephone operator came into force on 7 December 2016. The legislative measure immediately came into effect for all new prepaid Sim Cards. A transition period of six months applied to all users in possession of a prepaid card issued before the new measure came into force. 

All users in possession of a prepaid SIM card were required to register their identity with their mobile operator during the transition period. There were several quick and easy ways to register, including through reloading the SIM card with a bank card; through online registration with an electronic identity card and related PIN code, or it could be done in the mobile operator’s telephone shop.

For more information per operator see:

85% registered

In the past six months, mobile operators made considerable efforts to enable as many users as possible to register their prepaid SIM card. This led to a total of 2.7 million registrations, accounting for 85% of all active prepaid cards.

The transition period for existing prepaid cards ends today at midnight. Mobile operators are then legally required to deactivate unregistered SIM cards. It is probable that many unregistered prepaid cards are no longer in use. For instance, some people use prepaid cards as a disposable product, of these only the first call value is included, and the prepaid cards purchased by tourists visiting our country a few months ago are also taken into account.

Reactivation without loss of call value

Users who failed to register their prepaid card during the transition period should contact their operator as soon as possible if they find that their card has been deactivated. For a limited amount of time after the transition period ends, mobile operators can still reactivate prepaid cards without a loss of call value. The period in which it is possible to reactivate without losing call value ranges from 3 to 12 months depending on operator.

On Thursday, telecom regulator BIPT plans to conduct the necessary checks among operators to determine whether the legal regulations are being applied correctly.

Anti-terrorism measure

The compulsory identification of prepaid cards also exists in a number of other European countries and is part of a package of anti-terror measures agreed last year by the federal government of Belgium after the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Prepaid cards were widely used in criminal circles and were especially appealing on account of the anonymity they provided. The duty to provide proof of identity when purchasing prepaid SIM cards is a measure introduced to help security and intelligence services detect the identity of users faster as part of judicial investigation. This was something that was very hard to do in the past and a great amount of time was often lost as a consequence.