Mobile Operators Unable to Re-Verify SIMS Within 28 day Deadline
After the Peshawar school attack , government ordered all the mobile operators in Pakistan to re-verify 140m SIMs through BVS in 28day deadline.
According to DAWN, telecom operators had had asked for another 150-200 days for completion of the re-verification process . Otherwise, they say, they will have to block the pre-paid SIMs (subscriber identification modules) to meet the deadline.
The representatives of five operators — Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor, Warid and Zong — will hold a meeting this week with Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan, Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Dr Ismail Shah to discuss and a find a solution to the problem.
The operators will apprise the government of their inability to re-verify over 100 million pre-paid Sims in such a short time. We will seek a realistic period for the purpose; otherwise the general public would be the ultimate sufferer if the Sims were blocked for a month.
In order to stop the sale of illegal Sims, the PTA had introduced the biometric verification system about a year ago. Although the cellular companies have installed the system at their customers’ sale centers, franchises and retailers, still there are complaints about the sale of illegal and unauthorized Sims.
But the companies claim that since the introduction of the biometric system, the sale of “illegal and unregistered Sims has not been possible any more”.
Mohammad Aslam Hayat, Telenor’s chief corporate affairs officer, said:
There is no such thing as unverified Sim, every mobile operator has a record of Sim sales from its warehouse up to the retail level, where subscriptions are acquired. Against every Sim sold, mobile operators have necessary data as per the regulatory requirement.
However, this does not mean that the system is foolproof. There is possibility that at the retail end some of the sellers may violate the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for small gains without the support and knowledge of mobile operators.
Aslam Hayat said:
“Dominant buyer of bulk Sims” was a group of people involved in bringing grey international incoming calls. These grey traffickers are willing to pay very high prices, (reportedly up to Rs5,000 for one Sim), for these Sims which turns out to be a substantially motivating factor for some in retail channels to ignore the sale procedure laid down by the operators.