DUBAI// Mobile phone users in the UAE have been given 18 months to re-register their SIM cards, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced.The registration process for subscribers to Etisalat and Du cell networks will begin on July 17.

The scheme is part of the TRA’s ‘My Number, My Identity’ campaign which aims to tackle the problem of the misuse of SIM cards for criminal activity by making sure the owner of the card is also the user.

“The registration timeframe will be for a period of approximately 18 months; where the process is divided into six stages to ensure that all of the users have successfully completed their registration,” said a statement on the TRA website.

The authority said it would monitor the registration process to make sure all procedures are followed.

To register, customers must submit an application form together with official identification documentations, such as a passport, a valid residence visa or Emirates or GCC identity cards.

Etisalat has more than 100 sales outlets across the country where this can be done. Du has 46.

Etisalat said last week the registration process would not take more than 10 minutes to complete and the company was confident of meeting the deadline.

Re-registration of the SIM card is only required once and all unregistered SIM cards will be cancelled once the registration period expires, said the TRA.