4.5m illegal phone SIMs blocked, says PTA
LAHORE, May 28: On the instruction of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the cellular companies have finally blocked over 4.5 million mobile phone SIMs (subscriber identity module) for lack of ownership verification.
PTA Lahore spokesman Mustafa Kamal confirmed that over 4.5 million ‘unverifiedÂ’ cell phone connections had been blocked by May 27.
He said the process of SIM verification continued and more connections issued either on fake or unverifiable documents would be blocked shortly.
Of the SIMs blocked so far, 2.32 million belonged to Ufone, 1.86 million to Mobilink, 276,000 to Warid Telecom and 50,150 to Telenor.
According to PTA record available with Dawn, the number of cell phone connections which have been verified so far are; 28.2 million of Mobilink, 12.6 million of Ufone, 15.6 million of Telenor and two million of CMPak.
Senator Talha Mahmood, who is heading the senateÂ’s standing committee on interior, told Dawn that the PTA would submit record of the blocked unverified SIMs on May 31 to the body.
He said the senate committee would verify the `authenticity’ of the blocked SIMs by checking them randomly.
Earlier, the senate committee had given May 22 deadline to the PTA to block some seven million phone connections which were reported to be issued against unverifiable documents.
The figure of seven million ‘unverified’ SIMs was submitted in the senate committee’s meeting with the PTA, National Database Registration Authority chairman and secretaries of IT and interior held last month. It is believed that the figure is official, thus the PTA will have to block the remaining (2.5 million) unverifiable connections.
Cell phone operators last month had blocked 1.36 million unverified SIMs on PTAÂ’s direction as well.
The PTA said the authority had also directed all cell phone operators to register their sale points to ensure that no connection was issued without maintaining buyer’s record.
The PTA has also sealed a good number of unauthorised outlets of different cellular phone operators across the country in an ongoing crackdown being conducted by its teams. The crackdown will continue till June 30.
The authorised places for the sale of SIMs are mobile companies’ customer sale centres, franchises and registered retailers. All other points are considered illegal.