Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing Zong’s Petition for removal of limit on data SIMs, issued a verdict according to which a limit of maximum of three data SIMs and five voice SIMs per CNIC has been set.
Zong was contesting the case for removal of 5 SIM per CNIC limit and allowance of any number of data SIMs, however, Supreme Court during a hearing today said that one CNIC holder can not retain more than 5 voice SIMs and 3 data SIMs at one time.
Supreme Court Limits 3 Data SIMs and 5 Voice SIMs per CNIC
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which was representing mobile phone companies, maintained that since all old and new SIMs issued are now are biometrically verified and each and every SIM is associated with a living individual so this limit of 5 voice SIMs per CNIC should be removed.
It maybe recalled that Supreme Court of Pakistan had confined the limit of maximum of 5 SIMs per CNIC due to security reasons back in 2012 when anonymous SIMs, without any registrations were used in terrorist activities.
But since the situation changed after biometric verification drive with each and every SIM registered against a CNIC, operators thought that this limit could be removed.
The cell phone operators believed that the decision had caused massive cut in their sales and revenues.
This ban was hurting the operators, especially after the auction 3G/4G as they were not able to sell even the data SIMs due to the restriction of 5 SIMs per CNIC. Not to mention, data SIMs cannot receive inbound calls or make an outbound call, making it impossible for the SIMs to be used in any terrorist activity.
After the decision, mobile phone companies will continue to keep the cap on voice SIMs, however, they will be allowed to sell three additional data SIMs per CNIC.
Just in case if you wondering, mobile phone companies were pushing for removal of maximum limit, especially from data SIMs, due to increased number of gadgets such as tablets, laptops, smartphones, Dongles, IP cameras, IP phones, tracking devices etc. that require data SIMs for internet connectivity. and with time, the need for more data SIMs per individual will only increase.