PTA given more time to block SIMs -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PTA given more time to block SIMs

LAHORE, May 22: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior has called the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman on May 31 to know progress regarding blockage of unauthorized SIMs (subscriber identity module).

Earlier, the senate committee had given May 22 deadline to the authority to block some seven million mobile phones SIMs for lack of ownership verification.

Committee chairman Senator Talha Mahmood told Dawn on Thursday that the PTA had conveyed him that it had achieved ‘90 per cent target of SIM verificationÂ’ and it would block all unverified mobile phone connections soon.

Senator Mahmood said besides PTA, National Database Registration Authority chairman, IT and interior secretaries had also been called to the meeting.

He said the senate committee was in no mood to give PTA years to streamline the unverified SIMs issue, however, at the same time it did not want to discourage the investment in the fast growing telecom industry.

“We donÂ’t have to send a wrong message to the industry but at the same time the cellular companies will have to keep the record of their subscribers and they must be accountable for that,” he added.

The senator said that he had also asked the PTA to give warnings to unauthorized dealers of the mobile phones before arresting them.

The PTA has directed all cell phone operators to register all their sale points to ensure that no connection is issued without maintaining the record of buyer. It has also sealed a number of outlets of different cellular mobile phone operators across the country for selling SIMs without maintaining proper record.

Several PTA teams have been inspecting unauthorized outlets of different cell phone operators throughout the country and the crackdown will continue till June 30. The authorized places to sell SIMs are; mobile companies’ customer sale centers, franchises and registered retailers.

A random PTA survey of mobile phone companies’ franchises and retailers in the country shows that ‘a good number of retailers’ are not following the instructions regarding issuance of mobile phone connections. Such retailers do not bother to obtain copies of computerized national identity cards (CNICs) from the buyers.
Source: Dawn
Date:5/23/2008