SIM biometric verification system slows down sale of telecom operators | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

SIM biometric verification system slows down sale of telecom operators

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Introduction of biometric subscriber identity module (SIM) verification and activation system slowed down the sales of telecom companies.

A report suggested after initiation new mandatory SIM sale mechanism by the government on August 1, 2014 all over the country that no any SIM could be activated without verification of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). This has affected the sales of new SIMs for all telecom operators.

With this system in place it is said gone are the days when telecom companies in Pakistan were enjoying rapid sales figures by selling new SIMs (just like toffees), resulting in huge subscriber base for them.

Industry sources told the newly implicated SIM verification system has proved itself fully secured as no one could breach it, even the telecom companies could not issue SIMs to its employees without following the due procedures.

The telecom companies adopted the new guidelines to ensure due legitimacy to the national subscribers’ base so the country could overcome terrorism, they added.

The system is flawless and fully automatic and it has wiped out all the apprehensions relating unregistered and fake registered SIMs’ activation, sources said.

A telecom official said frequent alteration in SIMs’ sales system by the government during past three to four years brought complexities for the telecom companies as they had to change marketing strategies and reorganise their Human Resource (HR) related procedures.

Cellular operators in Pakistan witnessed significant decline in churn rate due to the biometric SIM verification and activation system, he added.

The subdued growth of new SIMs’ sales is not the only setback companies are facing but they also have to bear capital expenditures in terms of the installation cost of a complete biometric equipment at every point of sale (including service centres, retailers and franchises) that costs between Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000.

Moreover NADRA has increased SIM verification charges through biometric to Rs 28 from Rs 13 per transaction and the cellular operators are bearing this cost. The operators have already paid almost Rs 2.5 billion to NADRA in last three to four years, he added.

The companies have to provide biometric equipment at around 14,000 sales points across the country, whereas approximately 30 to 40 percent sales points have been equipped with the said system till date and the rest is likely to be achieved by the end of the next year, he added.

A big number of people are not familiar with biometric SIM activation because lack of guidance and unavailability of the said system’s procedure related information advertisement, hence this non-proximity of biometric equipped sales point is also hampering SIMs’ sales especially at the time when the companies are in need of rapid growth owing to the introduction of new generation technologies in Pakistan.

Daily Times