Biometric SIM verification system to be implemented
~ Operators have agreed to implement the biometric SIM verification system ~
The government had asked the cellular operators to bear all the set-up expenditures of biometric SIMs activation and verification apparatus solely on their own. Currently mobile phone companies are selling SIMs at 250,000 sales points across Pakistan (including service Centre’s, retailers and franchises), but initially it will be installed in at least 70,000 to 75,000 retail outlets across the country.
The telecom operators have agreed upon setting up the system in deep interest of national security, however, passing on a full load of all fixing cost of biometric system on the telecom companies is not an ample move of the government when the businesses are already running in a rugged situation.
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- The installation of complete biometric equipment at every point of sale will cost between Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 per outlet.
- In addition National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has also increased the SIM verification charges through biometric to Rs 28 from Rs 13 per transaction.
- It is to be noted that the cellular operators will adjust this extra cost hiked by NADRA on their own while the operators in the last three to four years already have borne almost Rs 2 billion. NADRA charges for different types of SIMs verification processes.
The government should share around 40 percent to 50 percent equipment cost through reducing import duties and by funding from different sources. Companies also seek help of the government in the entire procedure as these devices are not widely available because this technology has not been employed by any cellular company worldwide till date, he added.