commanders convinced their government to ban the use of unregistered
(anonymous) SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards for cell phones. In most
parts of the world, you can move your cell phone service from one phone to
another by simply removing the small (25x14mm) SIM "card" from one phone and
inserting it in another. SIM cards can also be bought just for the minutes
stored on them, and these "anonymous" SIMs are popular with gangsters, and
terrorists. Algerian police noticed, when examining terrorist bombing sites,
that the explosives were often set off using a cell phone with an anonymous SIM
card. In one case last year, police searching a captured terrorist hideout
found 300 anonymous SIM cards.
fifteen percent of the 28 million cell phones in Algeria use anonymous SIMs.
Everyone using the anonymous cards were given several months to register them.
Most users did not, and now some three million of those cards have had their
service cut off.