Biometric SIM verification system to be launched

Pakistan Press Foundation

LAHORE: All cellular companies are planning to launch biometric SIM verification system in Lahore and elsewhere.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has given the deadline of Dec 20 to all operators to introduce the biometric system in the country, except Karachi. For Karachi, the deadline is Nov 30. All the five operators have made arrangements to meet the deadline.

“The operators have agreed to meet the deadline and the foolproof biometric system will be in place at their outlets by the end of next month,” a PTA spokesman told Dawn on Thursday. He said a SIM would be issued after getting a thumb impression of the applicant and subsequent verification by the National Database and Registration Authority.

A Ufone spokesperson claims that it is fully equipped to launch the biometric verification system in Karachi by Nov 30 and at all its customer service centres and franchise outlets across the country by Dec 20.

The installation of the system at around 70,000 to 75,000 retail points across Pakistan may cost about Rs2.8 billion.

In 2008, the PTA had introduced a SIM ownership verification system 667. A customer was required to provide the original CNIC and a thumb print to get a SIM. In 2009, verification system 668 was launched. It is a process to verify how many SIMs are registered against one CNIC. The subscriber can block a SIM not in his or her use.

The same year 789 system was introduced in which a customer has to make a call and answer a few questions like mother’s maiden name and the place of birth recorded by Nadra at the time of issuance of CNIC.

According to PTA, both 668 and 789 would remain in place after the installation of the biometric verification system.


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