Pakistan Telecommunication Authority decide to block unverified SIMs
By: TAHIR AMIN
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has decided to restart data cleaning exercise for blocking SIMs with unverified and incomplete data, said PTA Chairman Farooq Ahmad Awan.
In an exclusive talk with Business Recorder after a meeting held here on Thursday in which all telecom operators participated, PTA Chairman said it was decided that all the SIMs having unverified data would be blocked.
PTA has also expressed dissatisfaction in the meeting over the pre-sale SIMs verification process and constituted a technical committee to introduce technology for upgrading this process.
The committee would submit its report within two weeks to PTA in this regard. The committee would also conduct audit of all mobile companies’ online verification process.
The Chairman said that in February 2008, verification of 100 percent mobile subscribers antecedents made in batches through Nadra with 11.7 million unregistered SIMs including 2.92 million SIMs registered more than 10 times against single CNIC, which were blocked.
Similarly from February 2009 onwards, mobile subscribers documentation and activation of SIMs after verification through Nadras database was launched where 12.1 million activation requests were rejected for incorrect answers to secret questions and provision of fake CNIC numbers.
The meeting was informed that all those SIMs /connections issued prior to January 31, 2009 are considered as old data. SIM identity system was introduced where customers could check the antecedents of a particular SIM by sending blank SMS to short code 667.
Through SIM information system, customer could get the count of each mobile company’s SIMs registered against CNIC number to short code where 4.6 million illegal SIMs were blocked.
PTA Chairman said that operators were directed in the meeting to launch mass awareness campaigns about SIMs verification.
He further said that a monitoring mechanism had been adopted under which show cause notices to all CMOs, on the basis of violations observed during the surveys carried out in April-May 2012, have been issued, 93 franchisees found involved selling SIMs in contradiction with the laid down procedures have been suspended/ closed/penalised, registration certificates of 436 defaulter retailers have been cancelled while 291 illegal sellers identified and sent for action by Police/FIA.
Regarding the issue of delivery of SIMs at residential address of the user instead of selling at sales channels, raised by Ministry of Interior, it was not recommended as it will increase cost of sales thereby increasing SIM/connection price. Similarly address in remote areas and villages are not indefinable thus creating problems in delivery of SIMs while present address of the customers, if different from present address given on CNIC, is not verifiable thus delivery of SIMs to such subscribers would not be possible. However, policy directives have been sought from MoIT and Telecom in this regard.
Regarding that conversion of all pre-paid connections to postpaid connections raised by the Minister for Interior, the participants were informed that consultation with CMOs is in process on technical as well as financial impact of implementation of the proposal.