The government of Pakistan, citing threats to national security, has reportedly decided to ban mobile number portability (MNP), Pakistan Today reports. The development comes after a meeting led by minister of the interior Rehman Malik was held on the misuse of electronic equipment, with a view to examining necessary measures to curb illegal activities. As part of the discussions it is understood that the nation’s mobile operators were directed to install their own monitoring systems in co-ordination with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) with a view to blocking objectionable communication. Following an observation that criminals and terrorists were continuing to use unauthorised SIM cards, the PTA was ordered to re-examine the current system for SIM registration, and to ensure that all illegal SIMS were blocked.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the road to the introduction of MNP in Pakistan was itself far from smooth, after the PTA first called for its introduction in April 2005. The service was delayed by a failure to agree charges for calls between ported numbers, whilst fixed line incumbent Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) cited a string of technical problems in its attempts to implement the necessary changes to its network and systems for MNP. In February 2007 the regulator announced that number portability would be launched the following month, and on 26 March the service became live, well over a year later than originally planned.