Poland’s operators disabled an estimated 12 million SIM cards in the country, in accordance with new anti-terrorism laws.

In response to measures imposed by parliament last year, Poland’s ministry of digitalisation had set a deadline of 1 February for prepaid SIM cards to be registered with their respective operators.

Any SIM cards registered after the deadline would be turned off.

The country’s regulator UKE told Rzeczpospolita some 68.7 per cent of prepaid SIM cards in the country had been successfully registered by the deadline, according to data submitted by the operators, while an estimated 12 million had been disabled.

The estimates are based on data collected by the country’s electronic communications office, and information from Virgin Mobile Poland, said the publication.

Virgin Mobile Poland’s president Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa revealed the company had disabled 59,000 prepaid SIM cards, around 14 per cent of its customer base.

By registering a SIM card, operators have access to a user’s name and social security number, while foreigners are required to provide passport or residence number details.

The country aims to make it more difficult for criminals and anyone involved in terrorist activities to remain anonymous.

One of the most high-profile recent cases regarding registering SIM cards was in Nigeria.

In 2015, the country’s regulator ordered all operators to deactivate unregistered SIM cards, or risk facing penalties.

The country’s largest operator MTN was then hit with a fine of $5.2 billion for failing to comply.

After months of negotiations, it eventually settled to pay a fine of $1.67 billion.