Inefficient biometric system hampers SIMs' activation -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Inefficient biometric system hampers SIMs’ activation

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has failed to manage the Biometric SIM verification system accurately as new and duplicate SIMs’ activation has been drastically dropped by almost 75 percent in Sindh and Balochistan after enforcement of new rule from April 1, 2014, Daily Times has learnt.

Recently Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) termed mandatory the activation of any new and duplicate SIM after verification of Biometric in Sindh and Balochistan as an alternative of dialing 789 after March 31, 2014.

However, consequently as many as customers have been compelled to visiting the franchises and the service centres of the mobile companies regularly for activation of the duplicate and new SIMs because the Biometric system was not working properly, internal sources said.

During the whole day the Biometric equipment works only for 2 to 3 hours appropriately otherwise system does not verify the data of the customers loosing link, said sources.

In general, franchises of all mobile operators are situated in close proximity, therefore the Biometric equipment works only at one company’s franchise at one time as the system is not as much efficient to support all franchises simultaneously, sources said.

The customer service centres and the franchisees of the mobile companies have become the major effectees of negligence of NADRA as unsatisfied customers are argued with the staff resulting in as many quarrels, sources added.

Customers’ service centre and franchise of the companies are only receiving the postpaid bills now days as they are not able to facilitate the customers with other services due to unavailability of Biometric link for last week. A staff member of one of the franchise telling the regular practice of the NADRA said, “When the staff contacts the NADRA complaining inconvenience then the same reply comes via e-mail stating ‘issue has found and data is being updated’.

Another huge blow being faced by the customers is the Biometric equipment, does not verify the data of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) made before the year 2004.The Biometric equipment could not read the paper pasted thumb impression because the CNIC was issued on the manually filled forms before the year 2004 without taking thumb impression on computerised equipment as it is practiced at NADRA centres nowadays, sources reasoned.

With Karachi having the highest street crime ratio, the public after getting robbed is plunged into other complications to deactivate the SIMs and then reactivate the SIMs but currently the issuance of duplicate SIMs are also being hampered by the poor performance of the Biometric equipment, sources added.

Sources suggesting the practical strategy said the system should have been tested on single server before the implementation as PTA was used to implementing any new guidelines abruptly without doing proper homework, which causes sheer problems for the public and the cellular operators.

Frequent changes in the SIMs’ selling guidelines are not being boded well for the cellular operators, as the number of mobile phone users in the country remained flat to 132.33 million during November 2013 to January 2014.

Daily Times