Pakistan’s mobile network operators have been given until 17 May 2011 to ensure that all of their respective subscribers’ details are registered and verified, after which non-verified connections must be blocked. According to Pakistan’s Daily Times, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has informed cellcos that all customers must register their SIM card details on their Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs). The regulator has further impressed that all possible measures to ensure mobile customers comply with the deadline, and it is understood that operators have agreed to relaunch a marketing campaign to draw attention to the registration requirements.
Introduced in October 2009, the PTA’s ‘SIM Information System 668’ service is likely to be integral in the final push to ensure mobile voice subscriber registrations are up to date. The service allows customers to send their CNIC details via SMS, in return receiving details of any SIMs registered against the identity card. For those still not registered, SIMs can be linked to CNIC’s at both Customer Service Centres nationwide.
The PTA also noted that in previous phases of its SIM card registration programme it had so far blocked some 16.3 million unregistered SIMs. In addition, as noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in a bid to clamp down on the use of illegal SIM cards, the PTA announced in October 2008 that, as of 31 January 2009, all SIM cards sold in the country would not be activated until customer data had been verified through the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA). As part of the regulator’s Standing Operating Procedures (SOP), a maximum of ten SIM cards can be registered against a single CNIC. Following the introduction of the ‘789 SIM Activation System’ the PTA claims to have rejected 3.8 million SIM activation requests so far on the basis of incorrect information being provided.