Mobile companies to sell SIMs from 31st
By Jawwad Rizvi
LAHORE: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, in collaboration with mobile service providers, would launch a drive to sell inactive SIMs in the market under a new customer verification system from January 31.
The new verification system is similar to the one currently being applied by commercial banks for activating credit, debit and ATM cards of their customers. The only difference is that the customers of commercial banks after receiving their cards call helpline service of their respective banks and after certain verification their cards are activated while for mobile SIM card activation the call centre operator of a mobile company will make a call to the customer and ask few questions to verify his particulars. If the answers are correct, the SIM will be activated.
The News has learnt the new verification system has been introduced in order to ensure that mobile connections are sold to genuine customers with valid documentary proof. SIMs will be activated after verification of the subscriber’s antecedents from the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). Sale outlets including franchises, retailers and customer service centres will sell inactive SIMs, after which call centre operator of the mobile company will make a call to the customer and ask some questions to verify his particulars.
According to PTA documents available with The News, the parameters of the proposed system are that sale outlets will sell inactive SIMs after completing mandatory formalities. They will give an instruction card to the customer, detailing activation procedure. Maximum activation time for a new SIM is 24 hours only while cellular mobile telephony operators (CMTO) call centre will order activation after verification.
The new system will be deployed in the country by January 31 and will provide a roadmap for an online verification system. It will also have an advantage of efficient and effective verification procedure as compared to the previous system.
The new system will not affect the business of franchise/retailer and will provide an opportunity for efficient utilisation of call-based online verification system whereby activation can be done quickly and accurately.
The system will be centrally controlled and operators will be responsible for misuse of SIMs in future. Under the existing verification system, the cellular operators are verifying the data through NADRA in batches, which at times becomes a lengthy and time-consuming process.
The mobile service providers have deployed the new system at selected outlets and its expansion to all customer service centres, franchises and registered retailers is in process. Around 15 per cent sales are being made through this system.
The PTA has verified through NADRA the mobile subscribers’ antecedents for connections sold up to November 30, 2008. As a result, 8.23 million unverified connections have been blocked. Under the policy, 10 connections on a single computerised national identity card (CNIC) are allowed per mobile operator. Excess connections on a single CNIC have been regularised through a media campaign. Until now 2.92 million excess connections have been blocked and a total of 11.15 million connections have been made inactive. In a bid to exercise control over illegal sellers of mobile connections, the mobile operators have registered all authorised franchises and retailers.
PTA Chairman Mohammad Yasin has taken keen interest in the SIM verification system. To ensure implementation of standard operating procedures (SOP), he has initiated a number of measures including meetings with law enforcement officers, business community and sales representatives and conducted countrywide surveys/inspections through PTA zonal offices.
Source: The news