In 2009 the SA government announced that RICA (the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act) would be implemented from the 1st of July 2009. This act requires that everyone with an active cell phone number or everyone who purchases a new Prepaid Starter Pack to register their SIM cards on the RICA system. All current and new contract, top-up and prepaid customers were required to register their SIM cards.
Subscribers who had activated their cellphone numbers before the 1st of July 2009 had to register their personal details against that cellphone number / SIM card in order to comply with the RICA act. An 18 month deadline was set for 31 December 2010. This was later extended to tomorrow (the 30th of June 2011).
It has also come to light that the RICA Cut-Off may also affect intercom systems, electronic gates and home security systems which work with SIM cards. These SIM cards also have to be RICA-ed.
Think about this way: If you’re not RICA-ed you won’t be able to browse the Junk Mail Mobile website or check your Facebook on your mobile phone. You will also not be able to make / receive calls or send / receive SMS messages. In other words, you’ll be off the grid.
To check your SIM card’s RICA status you can make use of the following methods:
- Vodacom subscribers: Send the word RICA to 31050 from the number that you want to check. This is a free SMS for Vodacom users. Vodacom also offers a web-based method for verifying your RICA status. Visit the Vodacom website, click on login in the top right and log in, click on the My Vodacom tab, click on ‘RICA status’ on left hand side of screen under ‘Account info’
- MTN subscribers: Dial *131*4# from your MTN SIM card to check their RICA status or use MTN’s online form. Go to the MTN website, type in your phone number and click ‘Check’.
- Cell C subscribers: Check the SIM card’s RICA status by dialing *133*RICA# (*133*7422#).
- Virgin Mobile subscribers: Dial *124# from the SIM card that you’re checking.
- 8ta subscribers: Since Telkom’s Mobile network was launched after RICA was implemented, customers with access to their 8ta service may safely assume that they’ve been RICAed.
For those of you who still have to RICA your SIM cards, you have until tomorrow to register. Don’t sweat, the process is quite swift. Make sure that you have your ID document and proof of residence handy and RICA your SIM card at one of South Africa’s many cell phone outlets / Starter Pack / Cell phone outlets.
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