Access to mobile services and proof of identity 2021: revisiting SIM Registration and know your customer (KYC) contexts during COVID-19

GSMA released research that investigates SIM registration policies globally and examines how government regulatory relaxations helped lower the bar for these underserved groups to access mobile services in their own name amid the COVID-19 crisis. It contends that certain underserved groups are significantly less likely to have a SIM card registered in their own name particularly women, those who are unemployed, persons with disabilities, those with only primary education, and displaced populations, including refugees. In 157 countries where SIM registration requirements are compulsory, for one billion people globally who do not have the means to prove their identity, accessing SIM cards and mobile services in one’s own name remains a challenge that could result in digital, social, and financial exclusion. To this aim, building trust in digital ecosystems should be a priority since SIM registration is still obligatory in many countries which lack comprehensive data protection and privacy frameworks.